With all the excitement surrounding the solar eclipse on August 21, many people have been asking about how to protect their eyes while viewing. This is a good question, since even during a partial eclipse (the total eclipse will not be visible in Santa Cruz), the intensity of the sun's rays can damage the retina.
There are a handful of ways that you can safely view the eclipse. The first is to make a solar viewer. Check out this video from Space.com on how to make one with at-home material for the safest viewing. For direct viewing, eclipse glasses are also available, but be careful as there have been a lot of uncertified glasses sold, including on Amazon that aren't dark enough to truly protect your eyes. Proper eclipse glasses meet the ISO standards and will have the label marked directly on them. Thousand Oaks Optical and Explore Scientific are two reputable companies producing certified solar viewing glasses. Generally these glasses are constructed with thick paper and very dark lenses. When wearing the glasses, you should not be able to see anything through the lens except the sun, as it is thousands of times brighter than anything else. As the retinal does not have pain receptors, it can be burned and damaged unknowingly, so using the proper glasses is very important.
With the proper viewing techniques, this solar eclipse can will a very exciting phenomena to be enjoyed.