Health & Wellness

How to Safely Enjoy the Solar Eclipse in Livingston

Michael Landolfi, DO, Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology at Clara Maass Medical Center Credits: RWJBarnabas Health

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Public Library is hosting a Solar Eclipse Viewing from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, and urges all residents to be safe during the event.

Beginning at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Monday, the moon will pass between the earth and the sun to create a solar eclipse. New Jersey will experience a partial eclipse, where approximately 70-to-80 percent of the sun will be covered.

According to the Livingston library, the moon will begin passing in front of the sun at approximately 1:30 p.m., reach its peak around 2:45 p.m., and the eclipse will be over around 4:00 p.m.

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In order to view the eclipse, eye protection is absolutely imperative. Viewing glasses will be available at the library during the event.

“As an ophthalmologist, I just want to reiterate that in NJ, at no point is it safe to look at eclipse,” Mayor Shawn Klein warned via social media. “When three-fourths of the sun is blocked, you (or your kids) can lose impetus to look away from sun—but there is still enough of the sun exposed to cause retinal burn. So make sure your family stays safe.”

Staring at the sun without wearing proper protection can damage the retina permanently and can even cause blindness, called solar retinopathy. Michael Landolfi, DO, Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology at Clara Maass Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, said preparation is key to enjoying the solar eclipse.

“It’s important for individuals who want to view the eclipse to recognize the extreme dangers that can result in looking directly at the sun during the event,” he said. “These dangers can include damage to the retina that can lead to permanent reduction in vision and even blindness, which in many cases will be irreversible. For those that want to view the solar eclipse safely they must use special-purpose solar filters or eclipse glasses that have ISO 12312-2 lenses. Anyone that thinks they might have eye damage as a result of the solar eclipse should seek medical attention from an Ophthalmologist immediately.”

Follow NASA's guidelines for safe viewing of the eclipse. Those with eclipse glasses are asked to ensure that they are listed on the AAS Reputable Vendors List.

It is also possible to view the eclipse indirectly via Pinhole Projection, which can be performed building a viewing apparatus or by creating a pinhole with fingers, or through trees, which naturally create pinholes.  

The pinhole method should not be used to look directly at the sun, which should only be done with proper eye protection. 

The library will also be broadcasting the NASA live stream of the total solar eclipse in other parts of the United States.

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