How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 365

Why is it any worse to observe a solar eclipse rather than a normal glimpse at the sun?
The problem with looking at the sun during a solar eclipse is not that it is somehow brighter than normal but rather that (1) you tend to stare at it and (2) the size of its bright region is reduced so that it doesn't hurt as much to stare at it. It's hard to stare at the full sun because it feels uncomfortable but looking at a tiny part of the sun may not feel bad enough to make you avert your eyes. Nonetheless, that tiny part of the sun can cook your retina and cause permanent damage.

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