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Solar Eclipse - August 21, 2017

By Capt. Jason Croskrey | 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs | Aug. 18, 2017

Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas —

This Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, we have the opportunity to witness a rare astronomical event when the moon completely blocks out the sun.

A total solar eclipse will occur, however, the path of totality, where the sun is completely blocked by the moon, is a relatively thin path across North America.

Many people are planning travel to view the total solar eclipse. If you do travel to see the eclipse in the path of totality, it is only safe to view the eclipse without prot6ection during the few minutes when the moon has completely covered the sun.

This path of totality will not include the state of Texas. Here in San Antonio, we will have just over a 60 percent solar eclipse, which means that any viewing of the eclipse locally should only be done with eye protection. While we encourage having fun and learning from this eclipse, we caution anyone to not let this beautiful event be the last thing you see.

The sun emits ultraviolet rays that can easily damage the sensitive light absorbing tissue in the eye called the retina. Damage from the sun can cause blindness that can be permanent. Sunglasses, even dark ones, are not sufficient to look at the sun directly. Consumers can purchase special protective lenses to view the event that make it safe to view the sun. A reputable list of vendors for eye protection has been compiled by the American Astronomical Society at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters

Other safe ways to view the eclipse include watching it on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration website, or making a pinhole projector.

Please be safe in your solar viewing, and if you hear of someone who viewed the solar eclipse and is having decreased or changes in vision, please have them see their doctor for an evaluation.

Maps and information can be found on many websites including https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/.