UAE - Don't look at the sun directly, experts say, as they list tips to protect your eyes while viewing rare celestial spectacle.

A solar eclipse is a sight to behold, but you need proper eye protection to witness it. 2022’s last partial solar eclipse will be visible from the UAE on October 25.

According to the Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG), a partial solar eclipse is a rare event that occurs when the moon comes between the sun and earth. As the name suggests, the moon only partially covers the sun’s disk.

“During a partial solar eclipse, the moon, sun, and earth don't align in a perfectly straight line, and the moon casts only the outer part of its shadow — the penumbra — on Earth. From our perspective, this looks like the moon has taken a bite out of the sun,” the DAG said.

When to look up

The celestial spectacle is expected to start at 2.42pm and end at 4.54pm. Make sure you look up at 3.52pm local time for the maximum eclipse.

Get solar eclipse glasses

According to the DAG, one must not observe the solar eclipse without proper eye protection as this can cause “permanent damage” to the eyes. Viewers need to buy solar eclipse glasses. The sun will appear in a natural orange colour when viewed through this filter.

“Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause eclipse blindness or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy. This exposure to light can cause damage or even destroy cells in the retina (the back of the eye) that transmit what you see to the brain. This damage can be temporary or permanent and occurs with no pain. It can take from a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realise the damage that has occurred,” the DAG said.

What you must NOT do

>> DON'T look at the sun without proper eye protection.

>> DON'T view the sun through sunglasses of any type (single or multiple pairs), or filters made from photographic film, or any combination of photographic filters, crossed polarisers or gelatin filters, CDs, CD-ROMs, or smoked glass. “None of these are safe.”

>> DON'T fit any filter to a telescope without first checking it thoroughly for damage. If it is scuffed, scratched, has pinholes in it, or you have any other doubts about it at all, do not use it.

In-person and virtual guided tour

The DAG is hosting a paid event at Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre in Mushrif Park on October 25. The event will include an explanation of the specacle, telescopes to observe and capture the eclipse, and solar eclipse glasses. Ticket prices start from Dh30 per person.

“Since the event is taking place during office hours on a weekday, Dubai Astronomy Group is live-streaming the entire eclipse,” the group said.

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