As the Great North American Eclipse of 2024 approaches, excitement is building from Mexico to Canada. Set to occur on April 8th, 2024, this astronomical event promises to be a mesmerizing experience. But with great spectacle comes great responsibility — specifically, the responsibility to look up safely. In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the eclipse — from what a solar eclipse is to how to view the eclipse safely — and delve into the importance of the Look Up Safely pledge.

What Is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, partially or fully obscuring the sun from view on Earth. The Great North American Eclipse will be a total solar eclipse, offering viewers in the path of totality a rare glimpse of the sun’s corona.

The Great North American Eclipse of 2024

The Great North American Eclipse will sweep across North America, promising an awe-inspiring view for those in its path. This event will be visible in parts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada, making it a significant event for millions.

The Importance of Looking Up Safely

Looking up safely during a solar eclipse is crucial. The sun’s rays can cause severe eye damage if viewed without proper protection. The Look Up Safely campaign encourages individuals and organizations to commit to using safe viewing practices during the eclipse.

Why Is Looking at a Solar Eclipse Dangerous?

Viewing the sun directly, even during an eclipse, can lead to retinal burns, known as solar retinopathy. This condition can result in permanent eye damage or blindness. Hence, understanding why looking at a solar eclipse is dangerous is key to preventing these risks.

How to Safely Look at a Solar Eclipse

To view a solar eclipse safely, follow these guidelines:

  • Use eclipse glasses or viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard.
  • Do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses, as concentrated solar rays can damage the filter and enter your eyes.
  • The only time it is safe to look at a solar eclipse directly is during the brief phase of totality, when the sun’s disk is completely covered by the moon. This is the only time when you can look at a solar eclipse without protection.

Resources for Looking Up Safely

Numerous resources are available to help you prepare for the eclipse. Organizations like the National Esports Association offer information on how to view the solar eclipse safely and provide access to safe viewing glasses and equipment. Check out our Look Up Safely Order Form to order your eclipse glasses in time for the event.

Engaging Your Community

The following questions and tips can help you engage and educate your community about experiencing the eclipse responsibly: 

  1. Is your school/organization/community ready to look up safely on April 8th? View our Pre-eclipse School Opportunities, Toolkit for Teachers, and Toolkit for Employee Benefits and organize educational sessions or workshops to spread awareness about the eclipse and the importance of viewing it safely.
  2. Why should you look up on April 8th? This eclipse is a rare and educational experience that offers an opportunity to learn about our solar system and the dynamics of celestial events.
  3. How to get involved: Participate in or organize local viewing events. Ensure that these events promote safe viewing practices.
  4. It’s not too late to look up: Even if you’re just learning about the eclipse, there’s still time to prepare and ensure a safe viewing experience.

When Can You Look Up Without Glasses?

Remember, the only time it’s safe to view the eclipse without protective glasses is during totality. This phase is brief, and you must be within the path of totality to experience it. That means if you fall outside of the linked path, you must keep eclipse glasses on the entire time. Before and after totality, eclipse glasses are absolutely essential no matter where you are.

The Great North American Eclipse of 2024 offers a unique opportunity to witness one of nature’s most stunning displays. This event will be even bigger than the record-breaking eclipse in 2017. Astronomers are even predicting that this Great North American Eclipse of 2024 will be the most-watched celestial event in modern history, with an estimated half a billion people set to participate.

At the National Esports Association, we are dedicated to making sure everyone is prepared to Look Up Safely! We are thrilled to collaborate with educators, organizations, communities, and individuals across the nation to make this an unforgettable and safe event for everyone.

By taking the Look Up Safely pledge and following the guidelines for how to safely look at a solar eclipse, you can ensure that this is a fun and safe event you’ll remember for a lifetime. Remember, the excitement of viewing a solar eclipse should never overshadow the importance of eye safety. Equip yourself with the knowledge and tools needed to look up safely, and share this information with others. Let’s make the Great North American Eclipse a safe and unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this astronomical phenomenon, so take the pledge and mark April 8th, 2024 in your calendars!

The National Esports Association is the global leader in esports education and engagement. We guide school districts, colleges, and corporations through the learning outcomes and competencies that gaming can provide — including making traditional education more relevant by gamifying classrooms and crafting curriculum and experiential learning for our digitized youth and workforce. We embrace and encourage diversity and are committed to inclusivity among all members of our global community.

You can learn more about how students, parents, and educators can get involved, as well as explore our consulting services to make traditional education more relevant to students by using game-based learning in your classrooms!