A-L-E-X wrote:Source of the post Now that is kind of scary, do you think people who have seen a lot of eclipses say that because they might've damaged their eyesight somehow?
I highly doubt it, and most first time viewers also describe it that way. (I was amused to hear Pecos Hank describe it as "the blackest black you'll ever see" in his video, since I've seen many others use very similar language.) To me this suggests that the totality blackness illusion is so strong that most people feel the need to use strong words to describe it.
With regard to eye safety, it is surprisingly difficult to look at the Sun outside of totality. Within seconds it is too bright to look at -- Midtskogen's comment that it quickly becomes like a welder's torch is quite accurate. You can glance at it, which is safe just as when the Sun isn't eclipsed, and your instincts tell you to look away before any damage can occur. I was actually surprised by how strong my instinct to look away from the diamond ring was. It takes deliberate effort to stare to the point of damaging your vision, and I think most veteran eclipse chasers would know better than to do that. Staring at it doesn't reveal anything anyway. You can't see the crescent shape.
But during totality, there's nothing dangerous about looking at it at all. Many have been told that there are still dangerous rays or something that would damage your vision. I even overheard someone say that in Madras. These claims are fantasy and ignorance, and is still sadly common in some countries with officials warning their citizens not to look.