Illinois Health Department Sun and Heat Safety Tips For The Solar Eclipse

Illinois Health Department Sun and Heat Safety Tips For The Solar Eclipse

You might have heard something about this: On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible across the entire U.S.

The last total solar eclipse seen coast to coast in the U.S. was in 1918. Starting shortly before noon and lasting until 2:45 p.m. central time, people in Illinois can see the moon pass in front of the sun.

There is a 70-mile wide path across the country called the path of totality, which is when the sun will be completely blocked by the moon. Parts of southern Illinois are in the path of totality and people there will see a total eclipse. Totality in Carbondale and the immediate surrounding area will last approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Central and northern Illinois will see varying degrees of the partial eclipse with decreasing magnitude further north.

12-year-old Alex Frye checks his special viewing glasses prior to viewing the partial solar eclipse from a highway overpass in Arlington, VA, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

More information about the path of the eclipse and how long it will last can be found at

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief phase when the moon entirely eclipses the sun. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers.

“Looking at the sun without eclipse glasses or solar viewers can cause ‘eclipse blindness’ or retinal burns,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun.”

More information about eclipse glasses and solar viewers can be found under resources on the American Astronomical Society website at

If you’re planning to spend the day outside and turn the eclipse viewing into an event, keep in mind sun and heat safety, as well.

For more information about summer safety, check out our “Summer? No Sweat. A Summer Survival Guide” at

For information about road conditions, traffic, and camping, check out For additional information about eye safety, the IDPH suggests contacting an optometrist.

SOURCE: Illinois Department of Public Health

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