Alcorn releases safety statement for today's solar eclipse

University administration urges extreme caution and safety for solar eclipse.

With the first solar eclipse of this century occurring on the first day of classes, Alcorn State University is strongly warning all those on its campuses to use extreme caution while outdoors between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. While Alcorn’s campuses may not be a prime viewing spot for the total eclipse, President Alfred Rankins is placing the campus under emergency notice.

"While this is a once in a lifetime event, we want to make sure everyone on all our campuses are using appropriate caution to protect their eyes," Rankins said. "We also need all faculty, staff, students and visitors to do their part. Whatever you do this afternoon, do not look directly at the sun or moon without proper eyewear."

NASA has issued a national warning that viewing the eclipse without eclipse glasses or counterfeit glasses could result in permanent eye damage. Glasses should meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Weather permitting, from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, students and employees will see roughly 80 percent of the sun blocked by the moon.

Emanuel Barnes, vice president for student affairs also warns, “A solar eclipse can cause temporary or permanent damage to your eyes if you don't protect them properly.” Barnes added, “If you don’t have the correct eye protection and want to watch the eclipse, the best thing to do is go indoors and watch it on television.”

The university is encouraging everyone to adhere to the following solar eclipse viewing guidelines from NASA, the American Astronomical Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the National Science Foundation and the American Academy of Optometry:

  • Do not look directly at the sun at any time during a partial eclipse. The sun's rays are so strong, they will damage your eyes. The damage is painless – you won't notice it happening – but it can be serious and irreversible.
  • Sunglasses – no matter how dark – are not enough. Wear protective eclipse glasses or viewers that are compliant with ISO 12312-2 safety standards. The devices must be undamaged – no holes, cracks or scratches on the area your eyes will look through. If you have these glasses/viewers, you can watch the eclipse from start to finish and if you keep them in good condition, they are reusable.
  • Do not look at the sun through an unfiltered cellular phone, telescope, camera or binoculars even if you are wearing protective eyewear. Attach the proper filter to the front of the lens. Otherwise, the optical instrument is sending concentrated rays to your (insufficiently protected) eyes.
  • Put your glasses/viewers on before you look at the sun and turn away from the sun before you take them off. Be sure children and those with special needs do likewise.
  • If you don't have protective eyewear, you may safely see the partial eclipse through a pinhole projection and other indirect methods. You can learn about several of these methods on the AAS website –

You can find much more information on NASA's Eclipse 2017 website.

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