Seeing an eclipse is a privilege that entails responsibility

Seeing an eclipse is a privilege that entails responsibility

• Observing the phenomenon “with the naked eye” can harm your eyesight, so it is recommended to do this through special filters or indirect methods.

“Our natural reaction when seeing a star directly is to look away, because its glare is annoying to look at and forces us to blink.”

However, the ophthalmologist specifies that when an eclipse occurs, the luminosity in the sky decreases to the point that our eyes are able to land in the space where the Sun would normally be without a problem, and from there, the temptation arises to observe this phenomenon. With the naked eye, but doing so without protection can cause irreparable damage.

“In the eye we have a kind of biconvex lens that appears to be bulging on both sides, just like magnifying glasses. Therefore, if we look at the sun, its light will focus on our macula and burn it, generating a scar that leads to loss of vision, and thus a significant reduction in our ability to “On distinguishing faces, reading, or reading. Details of what is in front of us.”

Although it may seem to us that during an eclipse the disk of the Sun disappears due to the Moon and its intensity disappears, this is not entirely the case, as a halo is formed around the satellite that emits light with the same amount of infrared rays and ultraviolet rays as always, and therefore the risk of damage to The retina is still present, despite the apparent darkness.

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For this reason, the doctor is not surprised that a few days after one of these astronomical phenomena occurs, people come to eye clinics complaining of vision loss. “Unfortunately, at this point, there is very little to nothing we can do.”

Professor Lozano Ricci is a fan of eclipses and admits that they seem to him to be among the most beautiful celestial spectacles, but he calls on us not to fall into the temptation of viewing them without adequate protection. “If you don’t have the resources to do it safely, it’s best not to look up, not even for a moment.”

An offer not to be missed

For Daniela Terhuni, from the Department of Science Publishing at the National Graduate School of Mérida, UNAM, an eclipse is the best window to look at the cycles of the solar system. “It allows us to understand, also in a very beautiful way, how the orbits of our satellite and our planet work. To be witnesses to this is a privilege and a responsibility.

For this reason, the caller suggests people not to fall into extreme situations (“Do not be afraid and do not be reckless”), and instead get information from reliable sources. “If we want to appreciate this phenomenon directly, we must buy filters, but not just any type. These must have a special certificate (ISO 12312-2). We can also use welding filters, although only of a grade equal to or greater than About 16 inches.

As a special recommendation, Tarhouni asks not to pay attention to everything published on the Internet. He added: “As the dates of the next two eclipses in Mexico (October 14, 2023 and April 8, 2024) approach, we will see all kinds of eclipses.” Fake news Which can put our eyesight at risk. Let’s be clear: X-rays, color films, or dark glasses do not protect us, no matter how dark they are.

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Professor José Franco, from the UNAM Institute of Astronomy, adds that if it is impossible for us to do this using one of these filters, there will always be indirect ways to enjoy this cosmic spectacle. “One option is to take a box and make a hole in it, which will reproduce on Earth everything that happens in the sky.”

Although my favorite strategy – adds the astrophysicist – is to see everything through the shadow cast by tree leaves on the ground. The phenomenon multiplies and dozens or hundreds of small eclipses appear at our feet, and this happens at the same time.”

Dr. Franco invites you to pay attention to what is happening in the skies over Mexico and to be part of the experience in any way you can. “It doesn’t matter if we see them through filters, indirectly or on a computer, mobile phone or TV. The important thing is not to miss these events.


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