Can I use a welding helmet to view an eclipse?
Yes, we can. But we should have proper information about the helmet before we use it for this purpose. Welding helmets contain special glasses to watch the welding flame. This glass present in the welding helmet has some specific shade. These shades are recognized number wise. The higher the number is, the helmet is safer. Helmets having shade number 12 and higher are safe for watching the solar eclipse. These shades are much darker than the shades used during several types of welding. If you have an old welding helmet and you do not know about the shade number of its glass, then you should avoid to use it for watching the solar eclipse. Because it may become dangerous for your eyes. If its shade number is lower than 12 it may cause loss to your eyes, and this loss can be irreversible.
Solar eclipse glasses
Eyes are a very sensitive part of our body. Some people may have sensitivity issues, so they feel the sun very bright even they are using shade 12 helmets. Some people may have any other medical issue, so they may feel the sun very dim when they use the welding helmet of shade 14. So according to a local survey, it is concluded that shade 13 is more appropriate to watch the solar eclipse than the other shades.
Some companies provide very cheap or sometimes free eclipse viewer glasses which are very handy and easy to use. But these glasses are unsafe for the users because they are not containing appropriate shades in it. So NASA issued a safety alert about “unsafe eclipse glasses being distributed by unscrupulous companies”. So they issued a number for the appropriate glasses and registered authentic companies.
Glasses with ISO 12312-2 printed on them are safe only. And only four companies are allowed to manufacture these glasses: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, TSE 17 and Thousand Oaks Optical. Watching the eclipse without approved eye protection can result in permanent eye damage or complete loss. Sometimes in very rare cases eyes may heal. But t is actually more than a miracle. It needs a hope to fix itself, which may take months or years or it may never heal. There can be two forms of damage:
- Photochemical Damage: The actual damage which can be very severe in nature is photochemical damage. It is basically the complete killing or death of the cells as they never existed. Tons of photons which are packets of light hit the photoactive material they result in an eruption of free radicals which leads it to a chain reaction that causes the continuous damage and destruction of molecules and cells in eye. This chain reaction does not give time to the immune system of the body to defend or heal back the cells. It results in the permanent irreversible loss.
- Photothermal Damage: this is the partial damage of eyes. It occurs due to the less ultraviolet (UV rays) and more infrared rays (IR). These rays cause the burning of the cells in the eyes. It damages the retina which is responsible for image formation in the eye. It results in partial blindness. The person is able to see only sharp colors. It may heal with time. If the damage is very less then it can heal back in hours, days or weeks. But if the loss is at a great level then it can take months or years to heal completely
Eclipse welding helmet
So here are some helmets which can be used to watch the solar eclipse but still we don’t recommend this you should go with the proper gadget to watch solar eclipse anyways no one is willing to spend some extra money just for the sake of 2 or 3 minutes of view. You can go with one of the welding helmets.
Besides this, there are some cheap options you can go with it.
We have also selected one solar filter which is particular used to watch solar eclipse. it is the cheapest one under 100$ which we could find with best features having large view area of 2 5/8” (67mm) to 2 7/8” (73mm).
If you are looking for how welding helmets works you can visit our this page. Best welding helmet