Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse – Health & Safety Advice
We have received several queries about the solar eclipse that will occur on Friday 20 March which provides an exciting ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ learning opportunity for our young people. At 9.35am on the 20th March the eclipse will reach its maximum for Edinburgh and schools are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn in context. The eclipse will begin at around 8.45am and peak at around 9.30am before ending at 10.30am.

Looking directly at the sun for prolonged periods can result in eye damage and children should be reminded of this. Whilst sunlight during an eclipse is no more dangerous than usual, many children and young people will be more tempted to look at the sun to see what is happening.  The necessary safety research and risk assessment should be done in advance of embarking on any learning involving live observation of the eclipse.  

In terms of advice a spokeswoman for The Royal College of Ophthalmologists said:
“The general public must remember that they should not look directly at the Sun or at a solar eclipse, either with the naked eye, even if dark filters such as sunglasses or photographic negatives are used, nor through optical equipment such as cameras, binoculars or telescopes.
There is no safe system to directly view an eclipse”.
We understand that some schools have purchased solar eclipse viewers already. We would refer you to the really helpful leaflet provided on the Royal Astronomical website which includes details on “safe visors”.
The following guidance should be followed:

·         To view the eclipse safely you can project the sun through a pinhole made in a piece of card onto another piece of white card
·         It is probably sensible not to undertake outdoor activities during the period the eclipse is happening. If this is unavoidable close supervision of children, especially young children is essential to ensure safe viewing
·         Binoculars must not be used to view the solar eclipse
·         Photographing a partial eclipse is also difficult and dangerous – pointing a camera or smart phone at the sun may damage the sensor
Andy Gray
Head of Schools and Community Services