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Our advice: Mercury in transit

The risky business of watching Mercury in transit

06 May 2016

Mercury will be passing the sun this Monday, and ahead of the event, which is likely to attract attract onlookers, we're reminding the public of the potential risks in looking directly at the sun. 

Optometrist Henry Leonard, Clinical and Regulatory Officer at the AOP, said, “Members of the public who wish to view the transit of Mercury across the face of the sun on Monday should only do so with professional equipment. Even when using sunglasses looking directly at the sun can cause permanent damage to your eyesight and should never be done. You only have to look at how a camera works to see the impact. Without the correct filter, pointing a camera at the sun can damage the electronics – so just imagine what it can do to your eyes.”

Mr Leonard advised members of the public to make the most of local events or to watch the transit online, “Even if you were to look directly at the sun the transit would not be visible as Mercury is too small and using standard binoculars or telescopes could cause serious damage to the eye. I would advise looking up local events, where equipment specially designed for solar viewing will be used, or to watch the event online.”

Read more tips on keeping your eyes healthy.