Watch under expert supervision

NEW DELHI: It is an excitement coupled with fear and superstition for many prior to the solar eclipse on August 1. Despite a well known scientific phenomenon behind the solar eclipse, people have not been able to do away with the superstitious beliefs related to the celestial activity.

According to Nehru Planetarium Director N Rathnashree, not the fear but precautions should be taken during the eclipse. “Solar eclipse is an interesting activity and should be watched under the supervision of experts with proper gadgets,” he said.

“It is very important to emphasise that viewing the eclipse with naked eyes would be very dangerous for the eyes. Viewing the sun through a telescope or a binoculars without a proper filter is many times more dangerous — do not ever do that, it could destroy your eyesight,” Rathnashree said.

According to Rathnashree, the safest way of viewing a partial solar eclipse is through the method of projection.

A pair of binoculars can be used along with a long hardboard box, to obtain good projected views of the sun, for safe solar viewing, he said. “By projection method, a pinhole or small opening is used to cast the image of the sun on a screen placed a half-meter or more beyond the opening,” said the expert.

If you do not have access to a telescope or a pair of binoculars with which you can make this setup for projection, Rathnashree explained an easy method of how to use a kitchen chhalni (fine sieve) that has very small perforations. Hold the sieve just above the ground, tilting its face towards the sun. Moving the sieve a little away from the ground, one can see an image of the sun forming, which will show the eclipse when it occurs.

The people should also avoid watching solar eclipse using sunglasses, single or multiple layers, smoked glass, colour film, black-and-white film that contains no silver, or photographic negatives with images on them.