KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If it’s not too cloudy on Saturday, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse.
The annular eclipse, which is also referred to as the “ring of fire” is different than the total eclipse we saw back in 2017. The moon only covers part of the sun which will leave a ring of light if you’re in its path.
Knoxville will not get the direct effects of the annular solar eclipse, however, the sun will be nearly halfway hidden by the moon. Instead of a ring, in East Tennessee, you’ll see the moon cover around 40-50% of the sun, which is called a partial solar eclipse.
This can be a beautiful sight, but it can also be a dangerous one. Just like how you shouldn’t look into the sun on a normal day, you shouldn’t look directly at the solar eclipse either.
“This is really the first time we have been able to view a solar eclipse since 2017,” said UT Astronomy Professor Dr. Sean Lindsay.
Just like in 2017, you’ll need the proper eyewear to watch this eye-catching event. Regular sunglasses won’t work.
“What you need to know whenever you’re going to go out and observe the eclipse, the first and primary rule, is do not look directly at the sun with your naked eye,” said Lindsay.
If you do look at the eclipse without the proper eyewear, there could be irreversible consequences. According to Shuler, looking into the sun for even just few seconds can cause damage to the retina.
“If you look into the sun, it can damage the back of the eye, the retina specifically and the very center part of the retina called the fovea typically is what is affected. That causes permanent nerve damage to the retina where it’s often permanent vision loss that doesn’t get recovered and because of this area that it damages, it’s the part of the eye that people use to read and drive and look at TV and see other people’s faces. And so, it’s the most crucial part of your vision,” said Southeastern Retinal Associates’ Dr. Robert Shuler.
UT Astronomy professors will be at Lakeshore Park on Saturday with a limited supply of solar eclipse sunglasses, which filter out the sun’s most harmful rays.
The MUSE Knoxville is also selling solar eclipse sunglasses for $1 during their watch party which will take place from noon to 4 p.m.
“People think they’re clever and are like, what if I just put on five pairs of sunglasses? Don’t. Not only will you look silly, but it’s also not going to work,” said Lindsay.
A solar eclipse is an event many can’t wait to see, but both Lindsay and Shuler say, don’t ruin your eyesight while watching it.