PORTLAND, Ore. -- On Monday, Aug. 21, the “Great American Eclipse” will cut across the United States in what should be a magnificent show.
We want you to enjoy the solar eclipse, but we also want you to protect your eyes. Countless doctors and scientists have warned that looking at the sun without protection can cause permanent eye damage.
That’s where eclipse glasses come in. Certified eclipse glasses are dark enough to protect your eyes when looking directly at the sun.
But do you have to wear eclipse glasses during the entire eclipse? We set out to verify the claim there is a safe time to remove your eclipse glasses. The answer depends where you’re located.
NASA says the only safe time to take off the glasses while looking at the sun is during the brief period of “totality,” or the phase when the moon completely blocks the sun.
Only people within the 70-mile wide “path of totality” will experience this. Even within that path, totality will only last for two minutes or less, depending how close you are to the center line.
Outside of the brief totality you’ll be seeing a partial eclipse and that’s when NASA says you must be wearing your safety glasses.
If you’re watching from Portland or anywhere else outside the path of totality, there is no safe time to remove your glasses and stare at the sun. The metro area will experience partial eclipse, even though more than 99 percent of the sun will be obscured.
Even in places like Salem that will experience totality, you must wear glasses during the partial eclipse phases leading up to and after totality.
One more viewing note - have a welder's shield and thinking about wearing that?
Welder's helmets have ratings and if your helmet or shield is Shade 12 or higher, it is safe to view the eclipse through it. If not. it is not considered safe for viewing.