Solar viewers, commonly known as “eclipse glasses”, are perfectly safe for observing the Sun at any time including during a solar eclipse.
On some days when the Sun is very active, observers might even detect black sunspots using these instruments.
While the solar viewing glasses are but one of the preferred methods of safely observing the Sun, I usually give some additional suggestions for using them when I distribute them at a sidewalk astronomy event.
This is what I recommend:
- Carefully check the viewers for any pinholes or perforations by holding them up to a light and checking for any faults. If any are found, destroy the viewers as they are unsafe.
- Never give the viewers to small children to use independently. Hold them on their faces while observing.
- Never leave children unattended with the solar viewers. We have learned that some children reject what they are seeing unless they observe it with the naked eye and will drop the glasses to verify what they see.
- Follow the 1-2-3 approach to solar viewing:
- Look at your toes and put the glasses on
- Holding the glasses firmly in place, look up and enjoy the view of the Sun
- Look at your toes and remove the glasses.
Follow these simple recommendations to safely enjoy the views of the Sun.