With the 2017 total solar eclipse fast approaching, there have been tons of questions about where to go see it, what you need to survive it and what makes it so special. There have also been a few falsehoods floating around and even phony merchandise being sold. But have no fear — we’re setting the record straight on some common total solar eclipse misconceptions.
#1. All total solar eclipse glasses are created equal.
False: According to NASA, tons of knockoff eclipse glasses have been flooding the market recently, and you can do serious damage to your eyes if you stare at the eclipse while wearing them (like this guy did). Make sure you buy solar eclipse glasses labeled with the certified ISO icon and the number 12312-2, as these are the only ones that will properly block the light and protect your peepers.
#2. You don’t need solar eclipse glasses if you’re outside the path of totality.
False: For states and towns with only a partial solar eclipse, the sunlight will be even stronger, as it’s not as covered up by the moon. Therefore you’ll still want to nab some glasses if you plan on attending any eclipse events or want to take a quick work break to witness the big moment.
#3. Only humans care about the total solar eclipse.
False: During past solar eclipses, studies have reported instances of horses pawing at the ground, hippos becoming disoriented, pigeons getting aggressive and dogs retiring to their doghouses. Scientists along the path of totality will be monitoring animal behavior extra closely during this month’s solar eclipse, but one thing we know for sure is that our non-human friends will definitely be affected by it.
#4: You can snap the perfect #nofilter eclipse shot on your iPhone.
False: Just like your eyes, iPhone lenses aren’t equipped to handle all of that sun exposure — at least not without the proper filter, according to NASA. If you try to zoom in at all, your photos will be super pixelated with almost no detail of the corona. NASA suggests investing in lenses that are rated as 12x and above and come equipped with a mounting bracket. You’ll also want to buy a tripod, as even the slightest camera jitter can ruin the photo.
One note: The moment of totality (when the sun is completely blocked by the moon) is the only time you won’t need your lens and can snap an unfiltered photo. But might we suggest the crazy idea of observing the event with your own eyes instead of through your cell phone?
#5: The total solar eclipse is free of charge.
False: OK, so the sun isn’t exactly demanding a cover charge for its big day, but one study conducted by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicts that U.S. employers will lose close to $700 million in missing output (work productivity) during the estimated 20 minutes that people will leave their desks to watch the eclipse, as reported by the New York Post. Keep in mind, this figure is actually pretty small in the grand scheme of things — Cyber Monday’s annual missing output cost is about $450 million for every 14 minutes, while the Super Bowl’s is $290 million for every 10 minutes, and those events happen every year. So we say leave those desks and go enjoy the eclipse, people.
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Originally published August 18, 2017.