Can I Use a Welding Helmet to Look At the Eclipse?

According to NASA:

An eclipse occurs when one heavenly body such as a moon or planet moves into the shadow of another heavenly body.

The sun, moon, and planets are all spheres that rotate around Earth at various speeds depending on their distance from us. During an eclipse, they block each other’s light. This makes them appear smaller than normal. It is because of this phenomenon that we can see eclipses occur in our sky.

But the question is; can I use a welding helmet to look at the eclipses? We will answer this question but before diving into details, you should know something that can be helpful for you about eclipses.

There are two types of eclipses. One is the Lunar eclipse and the other is a Solar eclipse. Each type has its own different properties. 

What Are Lunar Eclipses?

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. During this time, the Sun appears to be blocked by the Moon, causing it to appear darker than usual.

Lunar eclipses happen only during full moons. They last for about three hours.

What Are Solar Eclipses?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring one or both of them from view. When the crescent completely covers the Sun, it creates a total solar eclipse. If only part of the Sun is covered by the crescent, then we have a partial solar eclipse.

Can I Use My Welding Helmet To Look At Eclipses?

If you want to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays, check out your welding helmet’s features. Welder’s helmets have ratings called shade numbers which indicate how well they block UV rays.

A scene of solar eclipse

These shade numbers will tell you whether you should wear that welding mask to protect your eyes or not.

What Is A Shade Number?

The shade number indicates how much protection the welding helmet provides against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The higher the number, the better the protection.

You should know what your shade levels are before looking at a lunar eclipse or solar eclipse. Most welders wear welding helmets with a shade number of 10 or more.

Most welding helmets come with different shading numbers for different angles of view. You will notice that the number increases as you move closer straight ahead.

When you look at the eclipse using your welding helmet, you need to make sure that you are viewing the event from the correct angle.

When you are looking at the eclipse, you need to position your head so that you are looking directly at the Sun. Your eyes should not be facing down toward the ground where you would normally look while wearing a welding helmet.

What Shade Number Is safe?

When you look at the Sun through a welder’s helmet with a shade number between 8 and 10, you may experience some eye damage.

The best auto-darkening welding helmets have shade numbers ranging from one (the darkest) to sixteen (the lightest).

A higher shade number indicates a darker color and more UV and IR blocking properties, meaning that a higher shade number may block visibility too.

Now we know the answer to the question: Can you wear a welding helmet during an eclipse?

Yes, A welding mask with a shade number of less than 12 may not provide adequate protection from UV rays. You should wear a welding mask with a shade rating of at least 12 or above for better eye protection.

Auto Darkening Welding Helmets

Auto-darkening welding masks have an internal light source that automatically dims when exposed to bright sunlight. This allows welders to work in direct sunlight.

Final Words

You can use a welding mask for viewing solar eclipses but make sure to wear a helmet whose shade number is above 12.

Make sure that you wear a welding helmet that has enough protective properties to completely prevent harmful ultraviolet rays from entering your eyes.

You can also use solar eclipse glasses to stare directly at the solar eclipse. These glasses are easily available online as well in the market of your town.


How Do I Know What Shade Number My Welding Helmet Has?

To find out, you will need to take off your welding mask and look at the back.

Look for the words “SHADE NUMBER” or “SHADE”. This will tell you the shade number on your helmet.

Can You Use Welding Goggles To View A Solar Eclipse?

No, you cannot use welding goggles to view the eclipse because they do not offer sufficient protection.

Welding goggles are designed to keep dust and other particles away from your face. They also help reduce glare. However, they do not block out all harmful UV rays.

You can not use sunglasses to view solar eclipses.

Why Is A Solar Eclipse So Bad For Your Vision?

The sun can cause permanent damage to your eyes if it hits them directly during an eclipse.

During an eclipse, the sun appears brighter than usual because it is close to the horizon. If you are staring directly at it, this means that the sun is shining right into your eyes.

Even If you see something unusual in the sky, such as a shooting star or comet, don’t stare at it. Instead, cover your eyes and look at the sky again after a few seconds.