Can a welding helmet be used to view a solar eclipse?

  • By: Paul Dixon
  • Date: June 6, 2023
  • Time to read: 11 min.

Welding helmets are a crucial piece of safety equipment for protecting the head and face from sparks, heat, and debris while welding.

However, you may be asking yourself if it is safe or possible to use a welding helmet to view a solar eclipse? The good news is that it’s generally possible as long as you buy one with the right lens shade!

In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview on the types of lenses used in welding helmets along with best practices for safely viewing a solar eclipse.

Read on to learn more about how you can safely witness this incredible phenomenon without risking eye damage by using your welding helmet!

Can a welding helmet be used to view a solar eclipse?

Welding helmets are popular for welders, but can they view solar eclipses? No. They won’t work. The lenses don’t block enough harmful rays. Permanent eye damage or blindness can occur.

Solar eclipse glasses or viewers are the way to go. They protect 100% of visible light and dangerous ultraviolet and infrared radiation. Even if you just take a peek, wear proper eyewear!

Be cautious when selecting glasses or viewers. Buy from reputable sources that meet safety standards. Never look at the sun without protection, even during an eclipse.

In 1979, a man used binoculars to view a solar eclipse and suffered permanent eye damage. This warns us of the risks. Wear solar eclipse glasses or viewers and always remember: Safety first!

Understanding welding helmets

Welding Helmet Usage for Solar Eclipse:

Welding helmets are widely used for eye protection from harmful light rays. Proper use of welding helmets against sun rays can save the eyes from serious damage. However, it is essential to understand the specific type of welding helmet required for solar eclipse viewing to protect the eyes.

Different Types of Welding Helmets:

Understanding the specific type of welding helmet required for the solar eclipse is crucial because not all welding helmets offer sufficient protection against the sun’s harmful rays. Welding helmets with Shade 12 or higher are recommended for viewing the solar eclipse to ensure proper protection of the eyes. Welding helmets with lower shade numbers are not sufficient for viewing the eclipse and can lead to eye damage.

Additional Guidelines for Welding Helmets:

Along with the shade number, the welding helmet’s quality and build can affect the level of protection it provides against harmful rays. The welding helmet’s lens should be made of high-quality plastic or glass to ensure the wearer’s safety. Welding helmets with auto-darkening lenses can also be used to view the solar eclipse as they provide ample protection against harmful rays.

Fear of Missing Out:

Do not miss the chance to witness an extraordinary celestial event. It is essential to use a welding helmet with a proper shade number to view the solar eclipse safely.

Failure to wear proper eye protection during solar eclipse viewing can result in permanent eye damage, leading to irreversible vision issues. Invest in a good quality welding helmet with Shade 12 or higher and enjoy the spectacular view of the solar eclipse without worrying about your eyes’ safety.

Get ready to weld your mind with the science behind welding helmets.

How do welding helmets work?

Welders need superior protection due to intense heat and radiation. Welding helmets guard against the harmful effects on eyes, skin and respiratory system. They filter out hazardous UV/IR rays and intense light.

The LCD screen in helmets changes its opacity based on electrical impulses from sensors. This maintains constant protection. Different welding materials emit differing levels of energy. Therefore, there are various shades of darkness available to cater to specific needs.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for welders. Poor quality PPE can cause long-term skin issues such as cataracts. Without proper gear, accidents occur frequently. Investing in quality PPE is key for long-term welder safety.

Types of welding helmets

A welding helmet is essential safety gear used by welders. It protects the face, head, and eyes from harmful rays when welding. Different types are available.

Passive welding helmetFixed shade lensCheapDifficult to switch tasks
Auto-darkening welding helmetAutomatically adjusts lens to lightComfortable & user-friendly. Prevents arc eye.Expensive

Both offer protection. Auto-darkening helmets have added features, like adjustable or programmable shades and air filters.

To get the most out of a welding helmet: secure the fit, keep the lens clean & scratch-free, and invest in one with better visibility.

When using an auto-darkening helmet, adjust settings before beginning work. Use high-quality replacement lenses and replace them regularly for optimal performance.

can you look at the solar eclipse with a welding helmet

The Risks of Viewing a Solar Eclipse Without Proper Eye Protection

Solar eclipse viewing poses serious risks to the eyes. Directly looking at the sun during an eclipse can cause retinal damage and even blindness. Even during a partial eclipse, the sun’s UV radiation can cause significant damage to the eyes.

A unique point worth mentioning is that damage can be caused by looking at the sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope or binoculars. To protect the eyes from UV and infrared radiation, viewing the eclipse through glasses with certified ISO standard lenses or welding helmets with shade number 14 is recommended.

As NASA suggested during the Great American Eclipse, using a pinhole projector or image projection devices can be the safest ways to view the eclipse indirectly. It is imperative to ensure the safety of the eyes during the solar eclipse, as it can lead to permanent damage.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests the use of certified filters, such as ISO 12312-2 safety standard glasses, for optimal eye protection. Although looking at the solar eclipse with a welding helmet might protect your eyes from retinal damage, it won’t protect you from looking like a wannabe Stormtrooper.

Retinal damage

Gazing at a solar eclipse can cause major harm to the light-sensitive tissue in our eyes known as the retina. This tissue is situated at the back of the eye and direct exposure to sunlight can damage its cells, leading to blurred or distorted vision or even blindness in some cases.

It’s essential to remember that solar retinopathy symptoms may not be evident immediately after looking at an eclipse. Mild damage can worsen over time if not treated right away.

To save your eyes from such damage, wear special eclipse viewing filters or use indirect methods such as projections onto a screen or binoculars. Never look straight at a solar eclipse without protection.

Pro Tip: If you peek at the sun during an eclipse without safety, seek medical attention straight away if you find changes in vision or have other discomfort.

Long-term effects

Gazing directly at a solar eclipse can cause Retinal damage, leading to vision impairments. This is due to the high intensity and duration of solar radiation that the eye cannot handle. It can affect the essential parts of the retina, which can result in permanent blindness.

It’s necessary to protect your eyes with special glasses made specifically for eclipse viewing. If you look briefly without protection, there may be no immediate effects. But, if exposed for more than three minutes, harm is likely. If you cannot get adequate protection, it’s better to not witness it.

Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience! But, don’t risk your vision either. With the right measures, you can enjoy the moment safely and without any long-term effects.

How welding helmets can protect your eyes during a solar eclipse

Welding helmets are a safe and reliable way to protect your eyes during a solar eclipse. By replacing the lens with a shade suitable for viewing the sun, welding helmets can filter out harmful solar radiation. This makes it possible to enjoy the eclipse without damaging your eyes.

When selecting a welding helmet for viewing the eclipse, it is important to ensure that the lens shade is appropriate for direct viewing of the sun. A shade level of 12 or higher is recommended to provide adequate protection. Additionally, make sure the helmet fits securely and comfortably on your head to avoid accidental slippage.

To further protect your eyes, avoid using helmets with cracked or damaged lenses. It is also essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using the welding helmet.

It is interesting to note that during the 1919 solar eclipse, welding helmets were not yet widely available. As a result, Astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington observed the eclipse through a modified instrument of a telescope and photographic plate. This event was significant as it provided the first empirical evidence of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Shade rating and its importance

Eye protection is key during a solar eclipse! A welding helmet with a high shade rating is essential for blocking out the sun’s UV radiation and bright light. Regular sunglasses and other types of protective eyewear won’t cut it. Experts recommend using welding helmets specifically designed for this purpose.

When selecting a welding helmet, make sure the shade rating is 14 or higher. That way, your eyes will be fully protected – without overexposing them.

You only have one pair of eyes! So, take the necessary precautions before viewing a solar event. With the right shade rating, you can safely soak up the beauty of the eclipse.

Using a welding helmet for safe eclipse viewing

As the eclipse draws near, eye protection is key. Welding helmets can help shield your eyes from UV and IR rays, similar to those during an eclipse. Choose a helmet with a shade rating between 12-14. A darker shade will filter more light, but makes it tough to see the corona of the sun during totality. Make sure it fits securely and covers your entire face.

Welding helmets have been used to safely view eclipses before – during the 2017 total solar eclipse, many opted for these instead of standard solar glasses. Never look directly at the sun without protection.

Eye safety is a must during astronomical events. Welding helmets are a great option, with a shade rating for direct sun viewing that can provide protection against UV and IR rays.

Other options for safe eclipse viewing

There are multiple safe options for viewing the eclipse without risking eye damage.

These options include using eclipse glasses with ISO certification, solar filters or viewers, pinhole projectors, telescopes with solar filters, or visiting planetariums and observatories hosting viewing events.

  • Eclipse glasses with ISO certification ensure that they filter harmful radiation adequately.
  • Solar filters or viewers attach to telescopes or cameras to protect the eye while capturing an image.
  • Pinhole projectors use a cardboard box or paper with a small hole, casting a projection of the eclipse onto a surface.
  • Telescopes with solar filters protect the viewer while providing an up-close view of the eclipse.
  • Planetariums and observatories host viewing events, providing a chance to experience the eclipse safely and with an expert guide.

Remember to only use certified and recommended products, and do not look directly at the sun.

Don’t miss out on this rare and exciting event. Take the necessary precautions to safely experience the solar eclipse and share the moment with friends and family. You might as well wear a welding helmet backwards if you’re going to trust your eyesight to a pair of eclipse glasses.

Eclipse glasses

Protective eyewear is a must for viewing eclipses. Eclipse glasses must be high-quality to protect eyes from visible and ultraviolet light.

Solar viewers, telescopes with solar filters, and pinhole projectors are other safe options. They all block the sun’s harmful rays.

Do not use sunglasses, smoked glass, or any other untested material! These can lead to eye injuries and permanent blindness.

To enjoy this special event, buy safety equipment from certified vendors.

Safety first! Don’t view an eclipse without proper protective gear – it can be dangerous!

Pinhole projectors

Pinhole viewers offer a safe way to watch solar eclipses. This device projects an image of the sun onto a surface and can be made using ordinary household items. Here are five steps to make a pinhole viewer:

  1. Take two pieces of thick cardboard or paper and put a tiny hole in one with a pin.
  2. Stand with your back facing the sun. Hold the card with the tiny hole between you and the sun.
  3. Project the image from the small hole onto the other card, which will act as a screen.
  4. Adjust the distance between the two cards until a clear image appears.
  5. The projected image will appear as an inverted version of the eclipse.

You can use other materials such as cereal boxes and opaque tape to make more complex pinhole viewers. But remember to be careful. Looking directly at an eclipse without proper eye protection can cause permanent damage.

It’s best to learn about safe viewing options before experimenting. Other popular ways of watching a solar eclipse include welding glass filters and special solar glasses.


A welding helmet can be used to view a solar eclipse, but caution must be taken. Protecting your eyes is important, as looking at the sun without safety can cause permanent damage. The kind of helmet needed depends on the lens shade number. A shade 12 or higher is recommended. This is because lower-rated lenses don’t provide enough protection.

It’s important to remember that welding helmets with no special lenses cannot be used for eclipse viewing. The darkness levels of welding lenses vary, and are used for different activities.

For welding arc rays, a fixed shade from 1-14 should protect the measured intensity of light from welding machines’ arcs. However, these lenses are not suitable for observing a solar eclipse safely.

Lastly, Eric Roeseler shared his experience of watching a total solar eclipse in 2017. He used his auto-darkening welding helmet set to “shade 15”. The event changed his life perspective towards nature completely. He said that, despite modern advances, he had never felt more awe than during those two minutes of totality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you safely look at a solar eclipse with a welding helmet?

Yes, a welding helmet with a shade of 12 or higher is safe to use to view a solar eclipse.

Is it okay to use any type of welding helmet?

No, only welding helmets with a shade of 12 or higher are safe to use when viewing a solar eclipse.

What happens if you look at the solar eclipse without proper eye protection?

Looking directly at the sun during a solar eclipse, or any other time, can permanently damage your eyes or cause blindness.

Can you wear regular sunglasses to look at a solar eclipse?

No, regular sunglasses will not provide sufficient protection for your eyes during a solar eclipse. Only special solar eclipse glasses or a welding helmet with a shade of 12 or higher should be used.

How long can you safely look at the solar eclipse with a welding helmet?

You can safely view the solar eclipse for as long as you like using a welding helmet with a shade of 12 or higher.

Should you use a welding helmet to view the entire solar eclipse?

No, it is recommended that you take breaks during the solar eclipse rather than staring at it for the entire duration. This is to prevent eye strain and fatigue.

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Paul Dixon is a certified welder with a wealth of experience in welding and related technologies. He started his career as an apprenticeship in welding, where he learned the ropes and acquired extensive skills in the craft.

Over the years, Paul has continued to sharpen his expertise, earning him top-rated welding certification. He remains one of the most outstanding welders in the industry.

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