My love of the wild and of nature goes beyond medicinal plants and unspoilt landscapes, it goes skywards! Since viewing a total solar eclipse on 24th October 1995 from an abandoned village in Rajasthan, Northern India, I have been hooked. I have chased the shadow far and wide, a chase that has taken me to every continent except North America and Antarctica (so far). So this is a big week for me. I love eclipses :).
Although totality this Friday (20/03/15) will be limited to just a few lucky people in the Faroe Islands, Svalbard, and on Arctic cruises, a partial will be visible from the UK and other parts of Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East and Northern Asia. As my online search to purchase eclipse glasses for sending to my parents came in with a bit of a blank (OK I could have searched harder and longer, but still…), I thought I would post up some easy to follow instructions for safe eclipse viewing.
Even when 90% of the sun is covered it is stil extremely bright and will burn your retinas to a crisp, potentially causing permanent damage or even blinding you. You must NOT stare directly at the sun unless you have proper eclipse viewing glasses. Through these glasses you can see absolutely nothing (except the sun), do not try with sunglasses or anything else unless you want a crispy eyeball.
What you can do however is use your fingers to make a pin-hole effect. Stand with the sun behind you. Pinch your fingers and thumbs together leaving a tiny gap where they meet. You will need a flat surface the other side of them; for the surface think a piece of shiny white card, or a car door. Et voila! A safe and easy way to view the eclipse. No danger to your eyes, no special equipment needed. Impress your kids, friends and colleagues with this little tip.
Wishing clear skies, protected eyes and happy eclipse vibes to one and all :))