SE Newsletter January 1999

Safe eclipse

From: [email protected] (Bob Morris) Subject: [SE] Safe eclipse viewing To: [email protected]

> In regards of the warnings about safe viewing, may I clear a doubt: is it necessary to use a proper filter for looking at a partial phase, even if one is watching with just the "naked eye"? I mean with no "magnifying" lens.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! A filter is necessary! If you try to look at the *uneclipsed* sun with the naked eye you will soon turn away -- perhaps 10 sec or so -- because of the total brightness. If you try to look at, say, a 95% eclipsed crescent sun with the naked eye, you would be able to perist looking for several minutes or more. However, the per unit area brightness of the exposed sun remains the same so that you could burn a crescent onto your retina! If that crescent is on the fovea you will never see ANYTHING sharply for the rest of your life. The only exception I make is that I feel comfortable looking at the diamond ring at the end of the eclipse -- with the naked eye for a few seconds. If you look at the diamond ring before the eclipse with the naked eye you will ruin your night vision for totality. Many people patch one eye before totality and look through a filter with the other eye to ensure superb night vision with at least one eye during totality (after the patch is removed). I have never tried this. At the 1966 ring-total eclipse south of Athens the ring total phase lasted but one sec, and I looked at that with the naked eye for a second or two while I simultaneously snapped one photo with a cable release. A dazzling "diamond necklace" around the sun! This effect was also seen just west of Paris in the April 17, 1912 ring-total eclipse, two days after Titanic went down. Bob Morris

From: "Olivier Staiger" [email protected] To: [email protected] Subject: [SE] safe viewing with solar filters

Absolutely. The only moment you can look at the sun without filter is during the few seconds or minutes of totality of a total eclipse. all partial eclipses and annular eclipses (which in a way is a partial ) still radiate lots of UV and Infrared lights which is damaging your eyes. Have a look at Olivier R. Staiger HIGH MOON Geneva, Switzerland [email protected] " phone +41.79.449'4630

From: [email protected] Subject: [SE] Will You Be Safely Covered For Eclipse 1999 Reply-To: [email protected]

ECLIPSE SHADES(tm)-SAFE SOLAR VIEWERS One of the great celestial events of the year will take place on Wednesday August 11, 1999. This will be the last total solar eclipse of the 20 th century. This fantastic total solar eclipse will be visible to millions of people from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Romania. The sun's shadow crosses the Black Sea into Turkey, Syria and Iraq, Finally arriving in India, the last nation in its path. MAKE SURE YOU ARE PREPARED TO SAFELY VIEW THIS ONCE IN A LIFETIME EVENT! View this spectacular total solar eclipse with Eclipse Shades(tm) Safe Solar Viewers from Rainbow Symphony, Inc. ABSOLUTELY SAFE FOR DIRECT SOLAR VIEWING, Eclipse Shades(tm) provide the ultimate in protection from harmful Solar Radiation. With lenses made of Optical Grade, Neutral Density 5, Double Aluminized 2 mil Mylar, Eclipse Shades(tm) filter out 100% of harmful Ultra-Violet, 100% of harmful infrared, and 99.999% of intense Visible Light, giving a cool clear blue image of the Sun. Our Eclipse Shades Plus(tm) lenses are made of our exclusive Black Polymer Material with the integral filter medium distributed throughout the lens. These premium filters are scratch resistant, offer the same superior safety features and create a sharper orange image of the sun. CUSTOM IMPRINTING! Custom Imprinted Eclipse Shades(tm) are a great way to promote any business, planetarium, museum, school or astronomy clubs. Eclipse Shades(tm)are the perfect product for Fund Raising and special Corporate Promotions for Eclipse99. IMPORTANT!! Order early to guarantee delivery of your Eclipse Shades(tm) before this spectacular total solar eclipse takes place!! "CE" CERTIFIED! All of Our Solar Viewing Materials are Neutral Density 5 or Greater and are "CE" certified which meets the transmission requirements of scale 12-16 of EN 169/1992. Certified By BSI - #0086 Notified Body / HP2 4SQ SAFETY INFORMATION! All our Eclipse Shades come with safety information and instructions preprinted on the backside. ORDERING INFORMATION: For Fast Service...Order by Phone! Call: (818) 708-8400 or Fax: (818) 708-8470 or e-mail [email protected] Please visit any of our websites below for more information! NOW, You can order ECLIPSE SHADES(tm) from our Secure On-Line Store. Just click on the "Orbiting Order Button" at any one of our sites! PRICING: For Pricing & Custom Imprinting Information Please e-mail your request to: [email protected] Rainbow Symphony, Inc. 6860 Canby Ave. #120 Reseda, CA 91335 Ph# 818-708-8400 Fax# 818-708-8470 e-mail - [email protected] URL -

From: "Alain Cirou" [email protected] To: [email protected] Subject: [SE] No commercial eclipse

Subject : Safe Solar Viewers with European and non-profit organisation From the Association Française d’Astronomie (A.F.A) and Ciel et Espace magazine.

Hello, All of you know the importance of the last solar eclipse of the millenium. For the spectacle, for the date of the event, for the future of the interest of astronomy with large european people. In order to promote the events that will be organised around this popular and memorable occasion, the Association Française d'Astronomie has created a dedicated association called "Eclipse Info 99" whose project is based on five major ideas:

* Protecting most of the European population from the ocular dangers related to solar observations without taking precautions. To achieve this health related objective, the manufacturing of millions of pairs of protective glasses in Europe will be a major ambition.

* Circulating extensive, high quality scientific information that is free of charge via major European museums, fast networks and in collaboration with the European companies concerned (energy, space, health, environment, etc.), as well as major public bodies and researchers involved.

* Facilitating the organisation and animation of observation sites, assisting in the circulation of meteorological data and forecasts throughout Europe.

* Preserving the architecture of this new European network after the event, to encourage the circulation of information and animations of a astronomical nature.

* Creating a significant meaning for the final major astronomic event of the century: that of sharing an experience and the European Union.

The general census of opinion within our association is that it is in our interests to act together. And the extraordinary phenomenon of this total eclipse of the sun on August 11, 1999, will give us a superb opportunity to do so.

In this way we propose « C.E » certified solar vieving material, all made in Europe, at the best price ever see. Why ? Because we are a non-profit organisation and our interest is to protect a large part of people at a low cost.

We understand the opportunity for a private company to win money with the « eclipse market ». But it’s not our interest ! That’s why we propose something different, in Europe, with an other way : work together for the eclipse, for information, solar protection, etc... in the idea to promote astronomical activities for amateurs and large public ! With no money interested. Only for fun, culture and educational interest. Yours faithfully, Eclipse info 99. AFA. Ciel et Espace Olivier Las Vergnas. Alain Cirou. Valérie D’Auria 17 rue Emile Deutsch de la Meurthe 75014 Paris. France Ph : (33) 01 45 89 81 44 Fax : (33) 01 45 65 08 95 e-mail : [email protected] Our supports : Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (Paris), European Space Agency, Association Sécurité Solaire, Agence Nationale pour l’amélioration de la Vue,... many personalities and more than one hundred european organisations.

From: [email protected] (Bob Morris) Subject: Re: [SE] No commercial eclipse To: [email protected]

Forgive me for being a cynic but ... I have the credentials to be a cynic! I have a Ph.D., a P.Eng., and have been a full Professor of Engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa for 15 years, and a professor for 28 years. I observed the total eclipses of 63 (Quebec), 70 (Virginia), and 98 (Aruba). And the ring-total eclipse of 66 (Greece), Donald Menzel being on site, and my photos being in Sky & Tel Aug 66. I was clouded out in Quebec in 72. The main challenge is preserving people's vision -- not making the eclipse a non-profit event! The press is totally confused about the difference between observing a total eclipse from the path of totality and from outside of the path of totality.

And about when those inside the path need to or don't need to wear glasses! That's because prior to the eclipse they haven't seen one! I met a Ph.D. in chemistry in Aruba who had no concept of what he was going to see! And when he should put on and take off his glasses! If a Ph.D. cannot figure it out, than ... And in Aruba it was easy: *all* of the island experienced totality! And the Aruban press did a great job. Other countries botched it. If you can achieve the goal of educating all of France (and Europe) to that end -- who needs to wear eye protection and when -- that would be a major miracle!

If your infrastructure for manufacturing glasses in not already in place, and your glasses already certified, forget it! What is your excuse? You have known about the eclipse since, well, forever.

As we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Who cares if glasses are profit or non profit as long as not one person loses their vision on August 11, 1999!

My guess is that there will be many people among the 500,000,000 who view this eclipse at 95% or more magnitude who lose their vision --simply because the press got it wrong, or they didn't read the press.

If you manage to pass a law keeping foreign glasses out then -- I imagine --you will emerge from this eclipse with a very dark conscience. L. Robert Morris, P.Eng., Ph.D.

From: "Henk Bulder" [email protected] Subject: [SE] No commercial eclipse To: "INTERNET:[email protected]"

From Jan Boonstra (The Netherlands) I heard the old 5 1/4 inch floppies when taken out of their protective cases will serve as excellent protective viewing aids. Lots of people will have those old floppies lying around somewhere. They could give these floppies a good second live for viewing the partial phase of the eclips and save some money. Regards, Henk Bulder (NL)

From: [email protected] (Bob Morris) Subject: Re: [SE] No commercial eclipse To: [email protected]

Well, you have heard wrong. Very wrong. Check out the definitive article on pp. 36-40 of the Feb 98 Sky & Tel. Floppy discs are *not* safe. Nor are CDs, or exposed and developed color slide film. In fact, some B&W film may not be silver based: and do you want to risk your eyes on a "may not"?

And smoked glass can vary in density of smoking. The only safe viewing aids circa 1999 are #12 or #14 welders glass, correctly made aluminized Myler filters, black polymer filters, or two layers of fully exposed and developed silver bearing black and white film. Smoked glass is iffy.

So says Ralph Chou, an associate professor of Optometry at University of Waterloo, Ont. Who is also a registrar of the College of Optometrists of Ontario. Now, given that in any city of any reasonable size* one can purchase a fine #14 welders glass for $3 CDN ($2 US), why bother with anything else? However, in reality, the certified glasses sold by well-known companies that advertise in Sky & Tel should be satisfactory.

But, given that such glasses can get soiled, ripped etc if not handled carefully, before I left for Aruba I bought # 14 welder's glass. It comes in a protective plastic sleeve and is quite cleanable and impossible to rip. Unless you drop it you are guaranteed a good, safe, view. Every hotel guest in Aruba was given certified glasses. And, possibly, every resident.

I have doubts as to how the required number of glasses will be manufactured and made available to all of those who will be tempted to view the 1999 eclipse. I have a British friend who, as a journalist and writer, and a resident of Paris, travels in fairly high circles. And reads newspapers. She was not aware of the 1999 eclipse until I told her, and she says there have been no articles she has seen in Paris newspapers. That is not to say there have been none. What I am saying is that an intelligent reading adult who lives in Paris was not aware of eclipse articles in the Paris papers. LRM Excepting a city with an eclipse due in 2 weeks.!

From: "Barrie Jones" [email protected] To: [email protected]> Re: [SE] No commercial eclipse

Please don't do this - you will damage your eyes. In Europe the best way to get a device to view the partial phases is to get spectacles with a CE mark AND that indicate that they are approved for solar eclipse viewing (lot's of things have CE marks e.g. ordinary sunglasses, which are no good at all). Barrie W Jones

From: Robert Chalmers <[email protected]>

When dealing with the safety of your eyes, don't try to save money. Certified filters are *extremely* cheap (aluminized mylar, for example) so there should be no excuse for using any unapproved methods.

Someone posted a statement about the press "getting it wrong". I'm amazed at how much misinformation makes its way to the public. About half of the eclipse articles that I've read have some kind of factual error. I don't mind so much if the error is related to the mechanics of an eclipse, but it really bothers me when they get the safety information wrong. Last year the CNN website suggested using "unexposed" film as a filter, yet one of their own related links to a Nasa website explicitly listed this method as unsafe. CNN finally updated their page (without a retraction) a day before the 26FEB98 eclipse after a couple of days worth of e-mails. This is just one example.

From: "Rainbow Symphony Inc." [email protected] To: [email protected] Subject: [SE] No Commercial Eclipse

We have to agree. There are very few things you can find around that happen to coincidentally be safe for direct viewing of the sun.

The Sky and Telescope article lists very clearly what items are acceptable and which aren't. Ralph Chou has been an eclipse enthusiast for years and has independently tested the materials on this list. It is objective and unbiased. He is also instrumental in creating the "CE" standard for eclipse viewers.

The cost of a proper solar viewer becomes incidental compared to the transcendent experience of witnessing a Total Solar Eclipse. This becomes even more relevant when you've been waiting for as many years as Europe has for this event.

Typically, the majority of people have no idea an eclipse is even going happen until the media picks up the news..oh say a month before the event! There is always an incredible scramble for safe solar viewers the closer you get to an eclipse. We have seen this for over ten years, through many partial and total solar eclipses. The one complaint we hear over and over is "there weren't enough solar viewers to go around".

The demographics for Eclipse99 are enormous and a tall order for any one manufacturer to supply everyone. Guaranteed at the time of the eclipse manypeople will be compelled to look up regardless of whether they have a safe solar viewer or not! This is a scary thought. Without apology, it is our goal to safely cover as many people as possible with "CE" certified Eclipse Shades and Solar viewers.

No matter how you cut it or how you want to think about it, the development of "CE" certified materials and product, the supply, and the distribution of safe solar viewing devices is a commercial endeavor! Who does anybody think they are kidding.

The job of seeing that there are enough solar viewers available fall on the manufacturers, organizations, businesses and individuals in the know! And yes, there are also some once in a lifetime opportunities created. So, whatever the motivation is to become involved in the supply of solar viewers, the one thing I think we can all agree upon is that as many people as possible have the opportunity to safely experience one of life's most perfect and beautiful moments. Warmest Regards and Clear Skies, Mark s. Margolis Rainbow Symphony, Inc. [email protected]

From: "M. Jahan Miri" [email protected] To: [email protected] Subject: Re: [SE] No Commercial Eclipse

In regards of the warnings about safe viewing, may I clear a doubt: is it necessary to use a proper filter for looking at a partial phase, even if one is watching with just the "naked eye"? I mean with no "magnifying" lens. Regards, Jahan

From: "Barrie Jones" [email protected] To: SOLARECLIPSES [email protected] Subject: Re: [SE] No Commercial Eclipse

Yes - even for "naked eye" observations of the partial phases of a solar eclipse, a proper filter is essential for direct viewing of the Sun. There are various ways of projecting a solar image on to a screen, but unless you have detailed illustrated instructions, it's easy to get this wrong. So, if in doubt, stick with direct viewing through a filter that is certified safe for this purpose, and that is in good condition. Barrie W Jones

From: [email protected] Subject: [SE] No Commercial Eclipse To: [email protected]

Yes, yes, yes!!! It is NECESSARY to use a proper filter for looking at a partial eclipse with the naked eye. Jay Pasachoff

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