AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Saturday, half of the globe will see an annular solar eclipse. Here on the High Plains, we will have 80% visibility.
But as you look into the sky, it’s important to use caution to keep your eyes safe.
According to NASA Science, an annular solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, but when it is at or near its farthest point from Earth and the moon appears as a dark disk on top of a larger, bright disk, creating what looks like a ring around the moon.
Dr. Neal Nossaman, an optometrist at Broome Optical said that starting at a solar eclipse can cause irreversible damage to our eyes.
“It can actually burn your retina. Create a scar and create a blind spot in your vision that doesn’t go away…It’s still concentration light and it can still burn the macula,” said Nossaman.
He added that damage can happen within seconds.
Various places across the high plains are offering special ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses to help you view the eclipse, including Broome Optical, the Don Harrington Discovery Center, and Wildcat Bluff Nature Center.
“These are darker than sunglasses. Sunglasses will not work. They are not strong enough, not dark enough to see an eclipse. These are thousands of times darker. You can not see much other than the sun with these,” said Nossaman.
Dr. Nossaman said all the proceeds from the eclipse glasses purchased at Broome will be going toward the Downtown Women’s Center.
“We know what good work they do. We did this in 2017, the last time we had a solar eclipse, and it’s part of our outreach to the community. We didn’t need to make any profit on this, but we do need to get the education out on how to do it safely,” said Nossaman.
If you don’t have solar eclipse glasses, there are some other safe ways you can view the eclipse.
“There are other ways of doing it. You can actually take a colander from your kitchen, you have to put your back to the sun and hold the colander up to the sun and look at it on a piece of paper, and with the colander, you will see hundreds of little eclipse shadows on the piece of paper or if you just want one take an index card, put a hole punch in it and do the same thing,” said Nossaman.
“This has been around forever. You can actually take a box and put a pinhole in the box, have the sun behind your back, and then be looking at on a piece of paper, past the box, you can actually the eclipse on the piece of paper, where you are never looking exactly at the sun,” said Harris.
Marketing Coordinator at the Discovery Center Sophia Britto said as guests come out tomorrow to the Discovery Center, they will be reminding them of the event and will have someone on hand at the DHDC to answer questions about the eclipse.
Britto added the Discovery Center is getting ready for a big event the total solar eclipse on April 8th, 2024, and said folks need to save the date.
Britto said the Discovery Center wants to be a hub where people can spark their curiosity.
“With the eclipse and these astrological events, some people aren’t even aware they are happening, so we are trying to spread awareness about when they are happening or when they are going on, because maybe they are only once a year, maybe twice a year, and they are pretty cool and you are able to look at them via a telescope if its like lunar eclipse or with these glasses if it is a solar eclipse. We really want to make sure people have access to those resources to do so safely and can learn something new,” said Britto.
Chief Meteorologist John Harris said Saturday will start at 35 degrees and by the time the eclipse happens, the area will be only at 50 degrees.
“With any amount of darkening of the sun, it’s going to put a little bit more chill in the air, so if anything, people might want coats on at that time, because we don’t have the full force of the sun because of the moon blocking it, which is kind of cool in its own right,” said Harris.