Solar Eclipse and your eyeballs

Solar Eclipse and your eyeballs

Unless you live in a pineapple under the sea, you were likely aware of the solar eclipse last week on August 21st, 2017. As the eclipse approached, and even during it, there were many warnings to not stare at the sun. NASA-approved eyewear was provided to almost everyone who wanted to see the eclipse. For me, my work building was handing the eyewear out for free. Thanks to this, I was able to experience the eclipse without damaging my eyes. And I was enamored with the sun and the moon and the stars. My love for everything science grew that day.

There was still a concern for people not listening and looking at the sun anyways. Some people may have thought since the moon was mostly blocking the sun that perhaps the sun wouldn’t do as much damage. This is, of course, false. But I never imagined people would put sunscreen on their eyeballs in order to avoid sun damage to their eyes.

Doctors in California and Virginia reported patients complaining of applying sunscreen to their eyes. These individuals applied the sunscreen because they didn’t have the NASA-approved eyewear.

“One of my colleagues at moonlight here stated yesterday that they had patients presenting at their clinic that put sunscreen on their eyeball, and presented that they were having pain and they were referred to an ophthalmologist,” Trish Patterson, a nurse at Prestige Urgent Care in Redding, Calif., said.

It only takes seconds of staring directly at the sun to cause lasting damage to the retina. Please do not apply sunscreen to your eyeballs. If you don’t have the appropriate eyewear to look at the sun, don’t look at the sun. I’m hoping for future eclipses that we can learn from these situations and practice better sun safety techniques.

Did you see the eclipse? If so, I hope you were safe about it. Post up your pictures of the eclipse if you have any!

The next solar eclipse for North America will be April 8, 2024. Plan accordingly!

Solar Eclipse and your eyeballs was originally published on Developing Explorers

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Earth is changing

Earth is changing

By the end of this century, the global temperature is likely to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This scary conclusion was reached by two different studies using different methods.

One study used statistical analysis to show that there is a 95% chance that Earth will warm more than 2 degrees at century’s end, and a 1% chance that it’s below 1.5 C. “The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0-4.9 [degrees Celsius] and our median forecast is 3.2 C,” said Adrian Raftery, author of the first study. “Our model is based on data which already show the effect of existing emission mitigation policies. Achieving the goal of less than 1.5 C warming will require carbon intensity to decline much faster than in the recent past.”

The second study analyzed past emissions of greenhouse gases and the burning of fossil fuels to show that even if humans suddenly stopped burning fossil fuels now, Earth will continue to heat up two more degrees by 2100. More realistically, if emissions continue for 15 more years, Earth’s temperature could rise as much as 3 degrees. “Even if we would stop burning fossil fuels today, then the Earth would continue to warm slowly,” said Thorsten Mauritsen, author of the second study. “It is this committed warming that we estimate.”

These similar results paint a grim future. We’re in deeper than we originally thought. But not all is lost, as the fight against global warming is currently occurring. But we have to up our game. We need to start installing clean energy and walk away from our old polluting ways. If we don’t do this, we have to start preparing for many severe consequences for a much hotter world.

“There are only two realistic paths toward avoiding long-run disaster: increased financial incentives to avoid greenhouse gas emissions and greatly increased funding for research that will lead to at least partial technological fixes,” said Dick Startz, economist and co-author of the second study. “Neither is free. Both are better than the catastrophe at the end of the current path.”

Silver linings are hard to find in climate change studies, but we may have one as long as solar power continues to plummet in cost. But our governments have to take full advantage of the breakthroughs our engineers have produced.

How do you feel about global warming and climate change? Are you willing to change your source of power to try and lessen the damage done? Leave your thoughts below.

Earth is changing was originally published on Developing Explorers