How to safely watch the solar eclipse without damaging your eyesight

On March 20th a solar eclipse will be viewable from the UK, with London seeing the 'maximum eclipse' at about 9:30am. 

Britain hasn't had a solar eclipse since 1999, so this is a pretty exciting chance to view this phenomenon. "Look out for the weird and beautiful effects with shadows especially dappled through trees projected on to walls and the ground and blurred double shadows, " says Uberteknik. 

But looking at the eclipse has its dangers and can lead to permanent vision damage if done incorrectly. 

Read on to find the best and safest way to look at the eclipse. 

Don’t look directly at the sun

We really cannot stress this enough. We all know that looking directly at the sun can damage your eyes, even if you only looked for a moment. It's exactly the same during an eclipse, even though the sun is 'covered'. This includes looking through a camera lens, a telescope, binoculars, video recorder, dark sunglasses, a reflection or any other direct method. Covering your eyes with dark material such as bin liners or camera film is also not effective at protecting your vision. 

If you’ve managed to find some special ‘eclipse glasses’ then you can look directly through them – but make sure they’re not torn, scratched or broken before use, and that they’re CE approved. 

If you can’t find eclipse glasses don’t worry. Here’s how to safely enjoy the eclipse without harming your vision. All you need is a white sheet of paper or a blank wall, and one of the following:

Thick card

Make a small hole in a square of card. Facing away from the sun, hold the card up over your shoulder so the light shines through the hole and projects an image onto the white sheet of paper.

A cardboard box

Make a small hole in one side of the box ( a cereal box is perfect) and hold it up over your shoulder towards the sun. A small image of the eclipse will be projected onto the inside of the box.

A colander

Face away from the sun and hold up the colander to project multiple images of the eclipse onto your white sheet paper.

Binoculars or a telescope

Cover up one eyepiece of the binoculars then hold the big end up towards the eclipse (don’t look at the sun through the binoculars!). An image should be projected out the other side onto the card; you can use the focus to adjust the clarity. Be careful – this can melt the viewfinder if it’s made of plastic, so try to use binoculars with metal viewfinders. 

If you follow the above advice, you'll be set to watch the eclipse and keep your eyesight. 

What will you be doing when the eclipse happens? Let us know in the thread!