A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks the sun either completely or partially from our view.

On Monday, August 21, 2017, there will be a solar eclipse.  In some places, it will be a total solar eclipse.

In Dominica we will see a partial solar eclipse:

Duration: 2 hours and 27 minutes

Begins 2:46pm.

Maximum at 3:44pm

Ends: 4:53pm

It is an interesting experience that people will want to see.  However looking directly at the sun even for a short time can damage your eyes. It is known that sunlight focused with a magnifying glass can start a fire.  The same occurs when the eye focuses the sunlight on the retina.  The sunlight burns a spot on the retina. The damage to the retina is called solar retinopathy.  This damage can be permanent and can result in blindness.

Advice from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

“There is only one safe way to look directly at the sun, whether during an eclipse or not: through special-purpose solar filters. These solar filters are used in “eclipse glasses” or in hand-held solar viewers. They must meet a very specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2.

  • Keep in mind that ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, or homemade filters are not safe for looking at the sun.
  • Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other similar devices. This is important even if you are wearing eclipse glasses or holding a solar viewer at the same time. The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes.

Steps to follow for safely watching a solar eclipse:

  • Carefully look at your solar filter or eclipse glasses before using them. If you see any scratches or damage, do not use them.
  • Always read and follow all directions that come with the solar filter or eclipse glasses. Help children to be sure they use handheld solar viewers and eclipse glasses correctly.
  • Before looking up at the bright sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter—do not remove it while looking at the sun.


Persons with eclipse glasses should look at the label to ensure that the ISO 12312-2 is printed on it.                                         There may be fake eclipse glasses being sold to people.

Most people in Dominica will not have eclipse glasses.  As a result, the following is advised:



We can still enjoy this memorable event in Dominica:

  1. The solar eclipse can be viewed on television and online
  2. The solar eclipse can be viewed indirectly through a pinhole viewer. A pinhole viewer lets you project an image of the sun onto another surface, like paper, a wall or pavement. The image of the sun is safe to look at throughout the eclipse.  Again do not look directly at the sun!

Instructions on how to make a pinhole viewer can be obtained online


  1. American corner at the Roseau Public Library is inviting the public to join them to view the solar eclipse on Monday August 21, 2017 by 2.30pm. Free eclipse glasses will be provided.

Enjoy the solar eclipse but protect your eyesight!


Prepared by:

Dr. Hazel Shillingford-Ricketts

Consultant Ophthalmologist