On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible in a band across the entire contiguous United States. If you’re planning on viewing the eclipse, you may be wondering if it is safe to wear your welding helmet.
In this guide, we’ll answer common questions about wearing welding helmets during an eclipse and provide tips on how to get the most out of your viewing experience!
Table of Contents
How Do Solar Eclipse Glasses Work?
Solar eclipse glasses work by blocking out the harmful rays of the sun that can damage your eyes. The lenses of the glasses are made of a special material that filters out these harmful rays, allowing you to safely look at the sun.
If you want to watch the eclipse, make sure to get a pair of solar eclipse glasses. You can find them at many stores, or you can order them online. It’s important to make sure that the glasses you buy are certified and safe to use.
Can You Wear a Welding Helmet to View an Eclipse?
Welding helmets are made of a special material that filters out the harmful rays of the sun, just like solar eclipse glasses. This makes welding helmets a safe option for viewing a solar eclipse.
If you don’t have a welding helmet, you can use the welder’s glass as a makeshift eclipse viewer. Welder’s glass is a type of filter that is used in welding helmets to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. It comes in different shades, with the higher numbers providing more protection.
So, if you have welder’s glass with a shade 12 or higher, you can use it to safely view a partial eclipse. 
Shade Levels for Solar Eclipse Viewing
There are four different shade levels for welding helmets, and each one is designed for a specific purpose. Shade level 1 is the lightest setting and is typically used for outdoor work in bright conditions, while shade level 4 is the darkest and is meant for indoor welding.
Keep in mind that welding helmets can get very hot, so it’s important to take breaks often and stay hydrated. If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, remove the helmet and take a break. 
Why is a Solar Eclipse Bad for Your Eyes?
The sun emits intense light and invisible radiation. This includes ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) radiation. A solar eclipse is when the moon blocks the sun’s bright face, making the much fainter corona visible.
It’s important not to take your eclipse glasses or filters off when the sun suddenly becomes visible again. The sun’s corona can be very tempting to look at, but doing so for too long can cause serious damage to your eyes.
You need to use proper eye protection when viewing a solar eclipse. This is true whether you are in the path of totality (where the sun is completely obscured by the moon) or outside of it.
Solar eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers are made to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. If you plan on welding during the eclipse, do not remove your welding helmet as it will provide the same level of protection. 
How Do Welding Masks Protect Your Eyes?
Most welding masks have a filter that protects your eyes from the bright light created by the arc. The intensity of the light is so great that it can damage your retina, causing blindness. The welder’s mask also has a shield to protect your face from sparks and heat.
The welding helmet will protect your eyes from the intense light of the eclipse. However, it is not recommended. The American Astronomical Society warns that looking at the sun without proper eye protection can cause permanent damage to your eyesight. 
Why Is It Not Recommended to Wear a Welding Mask During an Eclipse?
There are two main reasons why the AAS does not recommend wearing a welding mask to view an eclipse:
- First, welding masks are not designed to be worn for long periods of time. They can become very hot, making it difficult to breathe;
- Second, the filter on the welding mask will reduce the amount of light that reaches your eyes, making it more difficult to see the eclipse;
- If you choose to wear a welding mask to view the eclipse, be sure to take breaks often and remove the mask if it becomes hot or uncomfortable;
Looking directly at the sun, even during an eclipse, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. Never look at the sun without proper eye protection.
Facts and Tips About Eye Damage
The sun is very bright, and it emits a lot of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Just like welding, looking at the sun can damage your eyes.
When the sun’s rays pass through the atmosphere, they are scattered in all directions. Some of these rays pass through the openings in a welding helmet and can damage your eyes.
The amount of damage depends on how long you look at the sun, how bright it is, and whether you are wearing sunglasses or other eye protection.
Symptoms of solar retinopathy include:
- Blurry vision;
- Distorted vision;
- A central blind spot in your vision;
- Diminished color vision;
These symptoms may not appear until several hours or even days after you have looked at the sun. Solar retinopathy is a painless condition and does not cause redness or swelling of the eye.
Solar retinopathy is a serious condition that can lead to permanent vision loss. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see an eye doctor immediately.
Tips for Viewing an Eclipse Safely
There are several ways to safely view an eclipse, but the only way to directly look at the sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers.
Don’t look at the sun through a telescope, binoculars, or another optical device while using eclipse glasses or a handheld viewer. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
If you are not using eclipse glasses or a handheld viewer, you can project an image of the sun onto a flat surface. For example, you can use a simple pinhole projector to project the image of the sun onto a piece of white cardboard.
Another way to watch the sun is by using binoculars or a telescope. Point the eyepiece of the binoculars or telescope at the sun, and let the sunlight pass through the lens and hit a screen or wall. Do not look through the binoculars or telescope while they are pointed at the sun.
If you are unsure about the safety of your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, you can test them by looking at the sun through them before using them to view the eclipse. If you can see the sun clearly, then they are safe to use.
Remember not to look at the eclipse without solar viewing glasses or some other form of protection!
You should also be sure to inspect your eclipse glasses or viewer for any damage before using them. Do not use them if they are scratched, torn, or otherwise damaged.
Finally, be sure to follow all safety instructions that come with your eclipse glasses or a handheld viewer.
Using a Welding Helmet to View a Solar Eclipse
A welding helmet is made to protect your eyes from the bright light and heat of welding, but can it also be used to view a solar eclipse? In short, no.
While a welding helmet will protect your eyes from the bright light of the sun, it will not allow you to see the details of the eclipse. The welding helmet will block out most of the light, making it difficult to see anything.
If you want to view a solar eclipse, you will need to use special eclipse glasses or a handheld viewer. These devices are specifically designed to allow you to see the details of the eclipse while protecting your eyes.
While a welding helmet can protect your eyes from the sun, it is not the best option for viewing a solar eclipse. If you want to see the eclipse, you will need to use special eclipse glasses or a handheld viewer.
Is My Welding Mask Safe?
As long as you have a welding mask that’s compliant with all safety standards, you can absolutely use it to view an eclipse! However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- First, never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection, even during an eclipse;
- Second, because welding masks are made of dark materials, they will reduce the amount of light that reaches your eyes;
As a result, you’ll need to be extra careful to not stare at the sun for too long. 
What Type of Welding Helmets Can Be Used to Watch a Solar Eclipse or Look at the sun?
Welding helmets that have been designed for use with arc welding machines can be used to protect your eyes when looking at the sun. These helmets have a filter that allows you to see the bright light of the sun without damaging your eyes.
Do not use a welding helmet that is not meant for use with an arc welder. These types of helmets do not have the proper filter to protect your eyes.
How Do I Know if My Welding Helmet Will Work to View a Solar Eclipse or Look at the Sun?
If you’re looking for a welding helmet that is compatible with an arc welder, make sure it has the “ANSI Z87.1” label. This means that the helmet has been tested to meet the standards set by the American National Standards Institute for eye and face protection.
What Are Some Other Ways to View a Solar Eclipse or Look at the Sun Safely?
There are many ways to view a solar eclipse or look at the sun safely. Some of these include:
- Use eclipse glasses that are specifically made for viewing the sun. These glasses will have a label that says “ISO 12312-2”;
- Make a pinhole projector. This is a device that you can make at home that projects the image of the sun onto a piece of paper;
- Use a telescope or binoculars with a solar filter. These filters attach to the front of the telescope or binoculars and protect your eyes from the sun’s light;
Can You Look at a Solar Eclipse or the Sun with a Welding Helmet?
Yes, you can wear a welding helmet to look at the sun during a solar eclipse, but there are some things you should know first.
There are different types of welding helmets. Some have filters that protect your eyes from the intense UV rays emitted by the sun. If you’re going to be looking at the sun for more than a few seconds, it’s important to make sure your welding helmet has a proper filter.
There are two main types of filters used in welding helmets:
- Shade 14 or higher polycarbonate filter: This will protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun. Make sure the filter is marked with a shade number of 14 or higher;
- Shade 12 or higher glass filter: This will also protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun. However, glass filters can break if they’re hit by something;
For that reason, it’s important to make sure the filter is marked with a shade number of 12 or higher.
When choosing a welding helmet, it’s important to pick one that’s comfortable to wear and has a good seal around your face. This will help ensure that no harmful UV rays can get through the gaps in the helmet and reach your eyes.
If you’re going to be outside for more than a few minutes, it’s also a good idea to wear sunglasses underneath your welding helmet. This will help protect your eyes from the bright light of the sun. 
The Consequences of Staring Directly at the Sun
Staring directly at the sun is never a good idea, regardless of whether or not there’s an eclipse happening. Doing so can cause serious damage to your eyes, including temporary or even permanent blindness.
That’s because the sun is just too bright for our eyes to handle, and when we look directly at it, we’re essentially burning our retinas. This can lead to a condition called solar retinopathy, in which the retina is damaged and can no longer send signals to the brain properly.
While it’s true that you shouldn’t be looking directly at the sun during an eclipse, that doesn’t mean you can just go about your business as usual and not pay any attention to it. Even if the moon is blocking most of the sun’s light, there’s still enough left to cause damage to your eyes.
That’s why it’s important to take proper precautions if you plan on watching the eclipse. One of the best ways to do this is to wear eclipse glasses or other eye protection that’s specifically designed for looking at the sun. 
Can you look at the sun through a welding helmet?
The simple answer is yes, you can. But, just because you can doesn’t mean that you should. A welding helmet is designed to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) rays emitted by the arc during welding.
While the helmet’s filter does a great job of blocking out these dangerous rays, it also blocks out most of the visible light. This can make it difficult to see what you’re welding, and can also be dangerous if you’re not aware of your surroundings.
So, while you can technically use a welding helmet to view an eclipse, it’s not recommended. There are much better ways to protect your eyes, like special eclipse glasses or a handheld viewer.
Why is it dangerous to look at the sun?
Looking directly at the sun, even for just a few seconds, can damage your eyes. The UV rays from the sun can cause a condition called solar retinopathy, which damages the retina (the back of the eye where light is focused).
Solar retinopathy is similar to a sunburn on the eye and can cause symptoms like blurred vision, difficulty seeing colors, and pain in the eyes. In severe cases, it can lead to permanent vision loss.
That’s why it’s so important to use proper eye protection when viewing an eclipse. If you’re not sure what kind of eye protection is right for you, check out our guide to eclipse glasses.
Do welding goggles work for the eclipse?
Yes, welding goggles do work for the eclipse. If you have a pair of welding goggles with a shade 14 or higher, you can use those to safely view the eclipse. Just make sure that the fit is snug so that no light can sneak in from the sides.
Should a welding helmet darken when looking at the sun?
This is a common question asked by those who are new to welding. The answer is no, welding helmets do not darken when looking at the sun. However, they will protect your eyes from the intense light and heat of the welding arc.
With that being said, if you are going to be viewing an eclipse, it is important to have the proper eye protection. A welding helmet is not going to provide the same level of protection as eclipse glasses or a solar filter.
What eclipse do you need eye protection for?
The sun is so bright that looking at it can be dangerous. You might lose vision if you look at it for a while. That’s why it’s a big deal when the moon gets in between the Earth and the sun and blocks out the sun’s light.
How do you protect your eyes during an eclipse?
The best way to protect your eyes is by wearing special eclipse glasses or a welding helmet with a solar filter. These filters are designed to block out the harmful rays from the sun so you can safely look at it.
If you don’t have eclipse glasses or a welding helmet, you can make your own pinhole viewer to watch the eclipse. This is a simple device that you can make with just a few household items.
Do welding helmets protect from UV?
Yes, welding helmets do protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In fact, they are designed to do just that!
Welding helmets have a filter that is made of a material that absorbs UV light. The helmet also has a lens that helps to focus the welding arc and block out other bright lights.
When you are welding, it is important to wear the right type of helmet for the job. Some helmets have a higher level of UV protection than others.
If you are going to be welding for an extended period of time, it is best to choose a helmet that has a higher level of UV protection.
What happens if you weld without a helmet?
Welding without a helmet is very dangerous. If you don’t have a helmet, the welding arc will emit intense ultraviolet radiation. This radiation can damage your eyes and skin. Without protection, you are at risk of being blinded or developing skin cancer.
In addition to UV radiation, welding also emits harmful fumes and gases. These fumes and gases can be breathed in and can cause serious health problems.
Welding without a helmet is not worth the risk. Always wear a welding helmet when welding.
Useful Video: You can use a Welding Helmet to View a Solar Eclipse
Welders have been doing this for years, but is it safe? The answer is a little complicated. It depends on the welding helmet you use and how much light gets through the lens.
If you’re using a low-light welding helmet, wearing it during an eclipse may not be such a good idea. However, if your welding helmet has a very dark filter and you’re only looking at the eclipse for a short period of time, it should be safe to wear.
We recommend that you check with your local welders’ guild or safety organization to find out what their recommendations are for viewing eclipses safely. Have you ever worn a welding helmet to view an eclipse? Let us know in the comments!