LUBBOCK, Texas – On Saturday, an annular eclipse will travel from Oregon to Texas. The moon will pass in front of the sun, but it does not fully cover the light, leaving the moon with a “ring of fire” around it.
Lucky for those on the South Plains, they’ll have some of the best seats in the house, but it’s important to be prepared before looking up.
“Looking at an eclipse, there is a danger if you don’t do it correctly,” said Dr. Kelly Mitchell, an ophthalmologist at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). “The harmful radiation that is emanating from an eclipse is just as dangerous, if not more so, to your eye. That radiation can cause permanent damage to your reading and driving vision that there are no treatments to improve.”
According to NASA, in Lubbock, the eclipse will begin at 10:17 a.m. on Saturday, reaching maximum visibility at 11:44 a.m. It’s set to last for just over 3 hours in the Hub City.
Optometrists warn that looking at the sun with a naked eye during an eclipse can burn your retina and even cause blindness. That’s why Mitchell said you need to get your hands on a pair of specialized solar shields. When looking through them, you shouldn’t be able to see anything except the sun.
“The normal-use sunglasses, even the darkest ones that you could buy, are not safe to use to
view an eclipse,” Mitchell said. “The only filters that are safe enough to look directly at an eclipse are the special filter 12312-2 or a welder’s helmet that’s filter 14 or darker.”
Mitchell said although your phone may say it has a camera feature that has an eclipse filter, that will only protect the camera lens, not your eyes.
“The only way that you could use your camera to look at the eclipse would be in the selfie mode, where the eclipse is over your back and you’re looking at the eclipse as you would look at your own face in the selfie mode,” Mitchell said.
Less than six months after Saturday’s show, a total solar eclipse will happen on April 8, 2024, and won’t return to the U.S. until 2045.
If you’re searching for a pair of solar eclipse glasses, we have a full list of places you can find them on EverythingLubbock.com.