Today, as I am sure you are aware, marks the possibility of observing one of the most awe-inspiring, amazing viewing opportunities you may ever witness, and I am truly grateful that I get to experience it in my lifetime. A solar eclipse. During a solar eclipse, the moon moves between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the sun (in parts or in whole, depending upon where you are on the Earth).
I also am sure you know by now that staring at a solar eclipse without proper eye-wear is dangerous… but do you know why?
The eclipse doesn’t magnify rays or increase UV or anything like that. Basically, it is dangerous to stare at the sun at any given time. I’m sure you know that, and because of this I am sure you don’t stare directly at the sun on a normal day.
The danger is that during a solar eclipse it seems “safe to stare” because the sun is “blotted out, there aren’t any rays coming.” And if the sun is completely obscured (the path of totality) it may be safe to do so. The problem is the sun may “surprise” you when it reemerges and you are staring directly into the sun again. Even worse, your pupils will dilate when it is dark so when the sun re-emerges, those harmful rays will be filtered even less, causing damage to your retina.
So…use approved safety glasses in order to have a look-see.
For a lot of us, we won’t be in the path of totality, meaning the sun won’t be completely obscured. It may be quite dark out, but there is still a lot of light coming through.
Let’s run with that last sentence… In your life, there may be times when things seem incredibly dark. Trauma, despair, loss, all of these things will probably happen at one time or another during your time on Earth. The point is, even at it’s darkest moment, there is still light.
You see, darkness can never truly wipe away light. Even during a “total eclipse” you can see slivers of light. There is always hope. There is always love. I am sorry for anyone that feels the light in their lives is blocked out. Maybe our job is to just send some good thoughts, prayers, a hug, to provide hope, to let them know that love is still alive and well, and that the light will indeed return. Maybe we can even provide some of that light (to the lives of others and to our own life).
A solar eclipse is an absolutely beautiful, amazing phenomenon. You may experience a bit of trepidation and fear when the sun is blocked out in the middle of the day. However, it is even more beautiful because we know the light will return.
Enjoy the eclipse, and remember that hope and love are always present, even if only in the background at times 🙂
Yours in Health,
Dr. Joel Lindeman