A total solar eclipse is one of the locally rarest and most spectacular events in nature. During the partial phases before and after totality, the surrounding landscape is gradually transformed by eerie, dim light and strangely sharp shadows. At totality, the sky becomes as dark as deep twilight, the brightest stars and planets are visible, and the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona, shines around the black disk of the Moon’s silhouette. Changes in temperature, winds, and animal behavior occur during the time around totality. The experience is emotionally powerful and unforgettable.
Like hiking in the woods, riding a bicycle, or cooking on an outdoor grill, eclipse viewing is safe, enjoyable, and worthwhile if you equip yourself with some basic information and take simple precautions. To prevent eye damage, do not look directly at the Sun during the partial phases of an eclipse. (You wouldn’t normally do that anyway, but during an eclipse, the Sun is more interesting than usual.) Never look into a mirror at a reflected image of the Sun. Instead, direct viewing is possible through a filter or “glasses” made specifically for solar viewing. It’s also easy to view the Sun indirectly, letting the Sun’s light pass through a pinhole and then observing its image projected onto a surface.
It is safe to look directly at the Sun only during the few minutes of totality. (There are no such things as dangerous rays that come only during eclipses.)
Additional information courtesy of rochestereclipse2024.org.