As we approach April 8, 2024, excitement is building for the Great North American Eclipse, a spectacular solar eclipse that will sweep across the continent. With this celestial event on the horizon, it’s crucial to understand how to safely view a solar eclipse and why taking the Look Up Safely pledge is important for your protection.

What Is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface and temporarily blocking the sun’s light. The Great North American Eclipse of 2024 will be a total eclipse, meaning the moon will completely cover the sun, creating a breathtaking sight for those in the path of totality.

Why You Should Look Up on April 8th

April 8, 2024, presents a rare opportunity to witness one of nature’s most awe-inspiring phenomena. The Great North American Eclipse will be visible across a wide swath of North America, providing millions with the chance to experience the beauty and wonder of a total solar eclipse. It’s a moment not to be missed, but it’s essential to do so safely.

The Look Up Safely Pledge

The Look Up Safely pledge is a commitment to prioritize eye safety while experiencing the wonder of a solar eclipse. By taking this pledge, individuals promise to use proper eye protection and follow safe viewing practices. This initiative is crucial for preventing serious and permanent eye damage that can occur from looking directly at the sun without protection.

How to Safely View a Solar Eclipse

Viewing a solar eclipse is an unforgettable experience, but it’s essential to do so safely to prevent eye damage. Here are detailed guidelines to ensure you enjoy the event without risking your vision:

  • Use Proper Eclipse Glasses: Look for glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. These glasses are designed to protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation. Regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not sufficient to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays during an eclipse.
  • Inspect Your Glasses: Before the eclipse, carefully examine your eclipse glasses for any scratches, punctures, or tears. Damaged glasses can compromise your eye safety, so if you find any defects, discard them and get a new pair.
  • Supervise Children: Children are often the most excited to witness an eclipse, but they may not understand the importance of eye safety. Ensure that they wear their eclipse glasses correctly and keep them on at all times, except during totality if you are in the path. Supervise them closely to make sure they don’t look at the sun without proper protection.
  • Use Indirect Viewing Methods: If you don’t have eclipse glasses or want an alternative way to view the eclipse, consider indirect methods. A simple pinhole projector can be made with two pieces of cardstock or paper plates. Make a small hole in one piece and let the sunlight pass through it onto the second piece, which will project an image of the eclipsed sun. You can also use a colander or a mirror to project the image onto a flat surface.
  • Remove Glasses Only During Totality: If you are fortunate enough to be in the path of totality, there will be a brief period when the moon completely covers the sun, and it’s safe to look at the eclipse without glasses. Enjoy this unique experience, but be ready to put your glasses back on as soon as the first bright sliver of sunlight reappears.
  • Do Not Use Optical Devices Without Filters: If you plan to use binoculars, telescopes, or cameras to view the eclipse, make sure they are equipped with solar filters specifically designed for this purpose. Looking through these devices without proper filters can cause severe eye damage.
  • Watch for Local Viewing Events: Many communities and organizations host eclipse viewing events with experts on hand to provide guidance and safe viewing equipment. Attending one of these events can enhance your experience and ensure safety.

By following these guidelines, you can safely enjoy the awe-inspiring spectacle of a solar eclipse and protect your eyes for future astronomical events.

When Can You Look Up Without Glasses?

You can safely look at the eclipse without glasses only during the brief phase of totality when the moon completely covers the sun. This phase lasts only a few minutes, and it’s crucial to put your glasses back on as soon as the sun starts to reappear. Outside of totality, you must always use proper eye protection.

Resources for Looking Up Safely

There are several resources available to help you prepare for safe eclipse viewing:

How to Get Involved

Getting involved in the Great North American Eclipse is easy:

    • Take the Look Up Safely Pledge: Commit to protecting your eyes and spreading awareness about safe viewing practices. 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.
    • Educate Others: Share information about eclipse safety with friends, family, and your community.
    • Participate in Events: Join local eclipse viewing parties or events to experience the phenomenon with others. Is your school, organization, or 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.
  • Join the NEA/NASA Live Stream of the Eclipse: The countdown is on until our LIVE streaming of the Total Solar Eclipse on Twitch on April 8, 2024! Click here to join the NEA, your favorite Twitch streamers and NASA guests as we launch our Fortnite and Minecraft Eclipse Games from 2-4 pm EDT alongside NASA’s feed of the eclipse!

It’s Not Too Late to Look Up

Even if you’re reading this close to the eclipse date, it’s not too late to prepare for safe viewing. Order your eclipse glasses, familiarize yourself with safety guidelines, and get ready to witness this incredible event.

The Great North American Eclipse of 2024 offers a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of the cosmos. By following safe viewing practices and taking the Look Up Safely pledge, you can enjoy this celestial event without risking your eye health. Remember, safety is paramount when experiencing the wonder of a solar eclipse.

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!