Everyone has been taught to never look directly at the Sun since they were very little, but whenever theres some astronomical event concerning our lovely star,some people throw caution to the wind. Withthe Mercury transitnext Monday,astronomer and TV presenter Mark Thompson decided to show the extreme consequences of looking at the Sun with no filter.
He used a dead pigs eye and put it in front of the eyepieceof his backyard telescope with a50x magnification. Within 20 seconds, the light of the Sunburned the cornea and the retina. Thedemonstrationshows how a telescope can act like a magnifying glass on a sunny day. Of course, you shouldn’t look at the Sun directly without a telescope, either.
While the pig eye resembles the human eye enough to make this a fair simulation, the rest is obviously an exaggerated scenario. Hopefully, nobody would be foolish enough to look at the Sun through a telescope with no appropriate solar filter to reduce its light, and most definitely not for 20 seconds.
Although in the video the light burns through the cornea and retina, looking at the Sun with your naked eye won’t cause the same level of damage. But it willcausechemical changes in your eyeknown asphotochemical damage. The damage is not permanent, but it could take up to over a year for your vision to go back to normal. So, don’t do it.
The Royal Astronomical Societys Mercury Transit website has some information on how to safely observe the event on Monday.
Wonder Of Science