Get Protective Eyewear Before Total Solar Eclipse on April 8

Feb. 2, 2024

Oswego County reminds residents that a solar eclipse will cross North America on Monday, April 8, and urges them to plan ahead by making sure they have safe eyewear for eclipse viewing.

Those watching the eclipse must wear specialized eyewear to protect their eyes. According to NASA, viewing any part of the bright sun through a camera lens, binoculars or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury.

The only time that it is safe to look directly at the sun is during the brief phase of totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face. As soon as the sun even slightly begins to reappear after totality, eclipse watchers should immediately revert back to using their solar viewers.

Regular sunglasses – no matter how dark – are not safe to view the eclipse. Safe eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers are thousands of times darker than sunglasses and comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

Be sure to inspect eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers for any tears, scratches or other imperfections before use. Any solar viewers that are damaged should be discarded. If using a solar viewer from a past eclipse, check to make sure it has not expired.

Devices such as cameras, binoculars and telescopes require different types of solar filters and should not be used with eclipse glasses or handheld viewers. If people are using an optical device that has the appropriate solar filters fitted to the front, then eclipse glasses or handheld viewers are not necessary. NASA recommends getting expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.

Indirect viewing methods, which means the person is not looking directly at the sun, are also an option if they are unable to obtain eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Examples of these techniques include viewing from a pinhole or optical projector, a sun funnel, a Sunspotter or a SolarScope.

Visit the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Solar Eclipse Task Force online at for more information about the upcoming event. Click on “eye safety” to find a list of suppliers of safer solar filters and viewers, details about indirect viewing methods and more.

Those who are visually impaired can still experience the eclipse with a LightSound device, such as the one hosted by the Oswego County Tourism Office. The LightSound box uses sonification, turning light intensity into sound. Oswego County is one of three places in New York State that has the LightSound device for the eclipse.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, casting a shadow on the planet that either fully or partially blocks the sun’s light. The eclipse will be viewable throughout Oswego County during the afternoon of April 8. The county will experience three minutes and 30 seconds of darkness during totality.

Businesses, organizations and individuals planning to open their doors or spaces to others during the eclipse should contact the Oswego County Health Department’s Environmental Division to ensure they’re following all public health regulations. For more information, call 315-349-3557.

For more eclipse information, visit the Oswego County Tourism eclipse webpage at