How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely

Eclipse viewing safety chart

Eclipse glassLooking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality (https://go.nasa.gov/2pC0lhe). 

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” (example shown at left) or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight. Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers  page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.

Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.

  • Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
  • Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
  • Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.
  • If you are within the path of totality (https://go.nasa.gov/2pC0lhe), remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
  • Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

Note: If your eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through them for as long as you wish. Furthermore, if the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely. Some glasses/viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn't look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015. To make sure you get (or got) your eclipse glasses/viewers from a supplier of ISO-compliant products, see the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. With yUSA map with eclipse pathour back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse; you'll see the ground dappled with crescent Suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves.

A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime. More information:

eclipse.aas.org        eclipse2017.nasa.gov

Vaccines Save Lives And Are Safe

National Immunization Awareness Month celebrates the important of vaccines

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month as a reminder that vaccines protect against a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.  Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from serious diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis).

“Most young parents in the U.S. have never seen the devastating effects of diseases like measles and polio, but those diseases still exist,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “Children who don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of not only getting those diseases, but of having a severe case of those diseases.  You can’t predict if your child will become sick with a vaccine-preventable disease, or how severe the illness will be, but you can provide the best protection by following the recommended immunization schedule and getting your child the vaccines they need, when they need them.”

Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in other parts of the world.  For example, measles is brought into the U.S. by unvaccinated travelers who are infected while in other countries.  When measles gets into communities of unvaccinated people in the U.S. (such as people who refuse vaccines for religious, philosophical, or personal reasons), outbreaks are more likely to occur.  Illinois experienced a measles outbreak in 2015 in a daycare in which 12 of the 13 cases were infants too young to be vaccinated.  Vaccines don’t just protect your child; they help protect the entire community?especially babies who are too young to be vaccinated.

The U.S. has the safest vaccine supply in its history.  Vaccines are thoroughly tested before licensing and carefully monitored after they are licensed to ensure they are very safe.  The vaccination schedule also has been scientifically shown to be safe.  Although children continue to get several vaccines up to their second birthday, these vaccines do not “overload” the immune system.  Vaccines contain only a tiny amount of the antigens (the parts of the germs that cause the body’s immune system to respond) that your child encounters every day, even if your child receives several vaccines in one day.

When a child develops a disease like whooping cough, chickenpox, or the flu, they may miss several days of school.  It could also mean lost money because a parent or caregiver will need to stay home to provide care and make trips to the doctor.

 

 

IDPH Tips To Avoid Tickborne Illness


 General emergency preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, the Ready Illinois Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and on Twitter at Twitter.com/ReadyIllinois.

  

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