View the Solar Eclipse Safely

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the United States will be treated to a truly extraordinary phenomenon: a solar eclipse! The last time our country experienced this astronomical spectacle was August 21, 2017. Unless you want to wait until 2044 to catch the next one, make plans to view the solar eclipse safely.

Best Map Of The 2024 Solar Eclipse

A narrow swath of North America, running from Toronto in the Northeast through Dallas in the Southwest, will see a total eclipse. The sky darkens, birds and insects stop singing and buzzing, and you can see planets and stars in the daytime sky. No wonder ancient humans venerated and recorded these events.

The Nashville, TN television station WSMV put together the best eclipse coverage map we’ve found (even better than NASA’s). The WSMV article quotes Kelly Korreck, the NASA Program Manager for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse, as saying, “This will be the most populated eclipse in the U.S., with nearly 32 million people able to walk out of their homes and experience the eclipse.”

Best 2024 Eclipse Map from WSMV in Nashville TN
This is the Best 2024 Eclipse Map we’ve found, made by WSMV-TV in Nashville, TN.

Can We See the 2024 Solar Eclipse in Los Angeles?

Unfortunately, people in Southern California aren’t in the total eclipse path, but a partial eclipse is still an amazing spectacle, and we’ll experience about a 50% blocking of the Sun. You’ll see some noticeable darkening as the Moon passes in front of the Sun, and birds and insects will become quieter and less active. Here’s the timetable for us here in LA (all times are PDT):

  • 10:06:10 AM – Partial eclipse begins
  • 11:12:19 AM – Maximum eclipse occurs
  • 12:22:09 PM – Partial eclipse ends

How To Safely View The Solar Eclipse In Los Angeles

You can view the solar eclipse safely only by taking the proper precautions. There are two excellent means of seeing the eclipse without damaging your eyesight – permanently.

Make A Pinhole Viewer

The safest way to view the eclipse is with a pinhole viewer. Anyone can use the pinhole technique to view the solar eclipse safely.

You only need a piece of stiff paper like a recipe card and a pin. Punch a hole in the paper, place it so it blocks the sun, casting a spot of light on the sidewalk or another piece of paper, and watch the eclipse! California’s very own rocket scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena give you step-by-step instructions for an upgraded model that adds in aluminum foil, tape, and requires scissors.

The finished JPL pinhole viewer

Purchase A Pair Of Solar Eclipse Glasses

While they may look like the gimmicky 3D glasses movies used to hand out, these are serious products designed to protect your vision. You may be able to buy solar eclipse glasses on Amazon or other places. If you choose to buy some, it is critical that you ensure that your glasses conform to the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Otherwise, you may permanently damage your eyes.

If you have any doubts at all about your glasses, DO NOT USE THEM. Instead, make a pinhole viewer.

Never look at the sun directly under any circumstances!!!

Never look at the sun directly under any circumstances. Period. End of story. Not even with a cell phone. There is no safe duration for looking at the sun. At the least, you’ll suffer photokeratitis (sunburned eyes) and, at worst, solar retinopathy, which is irreversible damage to the retina.

The doctors and staff at Dr. Barry Leonard and Associates dedicate themselves to maintaining and improving our patients’ vision, enabling them to lead happy and fulfilling lives. Part of that lifestyle includes viewing these rare solar eclipse events safely.

If you are due for an eye exam or need help with a vision problem, contact Dr. Leonard’s office at (818) 891-6711 or schedule an eye exam online.

Doctor Leonard talking with Dr. Bennett.