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The Solar Eclipse on July 22nd

Solar eclipses are a beautiful natural phenomenon. When the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, the resulting view of the Sun is called a solar eclipse. When the moon completely blocks out the sun, it is referred to as a total eclipse. A total solar eclipse is going to happen on the 22nd of July, and it shall be clearly visible from many parts of India.

In India, it is believed that a solar eclipse or Surya Grahan occurs when the two mythical demons, Rahu and Ketu, swallow the sun. There are many other Indian folk tales associated with eclipses, both lunar and solar. And there are many myths about eclipses too. But are any of these really true? Let's take a look.

Is Viewing a Solar Eclipse Harmful?

It has been scientifically proved that there is no harm whatsoever in viewing solar eclipses. Solar eclipses are beautiful astronomical events and many people across the world travel to faraway places to get a clear view of the phenomenon. Some of them watch the event through special telescopes and others opt for special eyewear.

It is believed that pregnant women should not view a solar eclipse. Pregnant women are often told that their child will be deformed if they view a solar eclipse. However, various scientific authorities have stated over and over again that there is no harm whatsoever in viewing a solar eclipse with the right eye gear. Though it comes down to personal choice, pregnant women need not worry if they wish to view a solar eclipse.

Solar eclipses are also taken advantage of by unscrupulous holy men who predict doom and destruction to try and make a quick buck from the masses. Such prophecies can be quite an inconvenience to the average man who is easily affected by such announcements. But people should understand that a solar eclipse is merely a natural event and does not affect anything in a harmful way. Eclipses have happened for ages and no harmful effects have ever been observed.

How to View a Solar Eclipse

It is important, however, that you view a solar eclipse with the right eye gear. Staring right at the sun could permanently damage the eyes. It is wrong to assume that the sun can be looked at after the moon blocks out a majority of it. Viewing a solar eclipse directly is a strict no-no.

If you want to view the eclipse, you have to get special glasses. As opposed to popular belief, sunglasses and dark films do NOT protect our eyes. The best way to see a solar eclipse is by viewing its projected image. You can do this by fixing a telescope and focusing the image onto a sheet of paper. You can clearly see the eclipse on the sheet of paper. You should never look directly at the eclipse through the telescope or binoculars.

Similarly, you can make a tiny hole on an opaque sheet of paper and let the light passing through fall on a sheet of paper. This method is an effective way to watch an eclipse as well. Alternatively, you can watch it live on TV which is the safest way of viewing a solar eclipse!

Advice for Parents during the Solar Eclipse

If your child is very young, it is best to keep him indoors as the hype surrounding the eclipse may prompt him to stare directly at the sun. You can, however, let him view it on the television set. If your child is old enough to understand your instructions, you can tell him about the effects of viewing the eclipse directly, and educate him on how he can avoid damage to his eyes. It is best if you purchase eye wear and give it to him so he can use that to observe the eclipse. Preferably be around when he decides to observe the eclipse. They do not last more than 5-10 minutes and this way you can ensure his safety.

When is the next Solar Eclipse?

This year's solar eclipse is expected to occur sometime between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on July 22nd. It is supposed to be best viewed from India and China, so you can go ahead and use this opportunity to view the total solar eclipse. Just keep the above things in mind before you check it out. A safe experience is a fun experience!

Have you heard about the solar eclipse on 22nd July? Have you seen a total solar eclipse before? Do you think solar eclipses are unsafe for pregnant women? To share your tips, views, and experiences, click here.


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