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Medical Why is it poissible to look at the sun without damage.

  1. Oct 18, 2011 #1
    I was astonished recently to find myself able to look directly into the sun without experiencing impairment of vision as a result. I have done so many times since but there are occasions when the light is too bright. What I saw when I looked at the sun was quite awe inspiring. The outer rim would turn gold and send spirals of colour outwards and then all would be obliterated by a bright white flash. This cycle repeated and I cannot understand how this is even possible that I could have such an experience. Having said that I am aware of the existence of particles in the lower atmosphere presently that may be screening the UV light. Does anybody know of a policy to protect us from harmful solar explosions by the use of nanoparticles for example or does anybody have any explanation as to what these particles are.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2011 #2


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    Um.....what you are describing is flash blindness. It is impairment of vision. In addition to momentary impairment, you may also be doing long-term damage. Stop looking directly at the sun.
  4. Oct 18, 2011 #3


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  5. Oct 18, 2011 #4
    I totally understand what flash damage is and that has always been the deterrent to sun gazing. There are times when flash damage occurs and of course I refrain from looking, I am not stupid. However I will take your advice, but can I say that I have been sun-gazing for over a month and the startling thing is that on looking away, there is not the smallest trace of flash damage, quite the opposite. Immediately after averting my gaze from the sun my vision is clearer and brighter than it was previously almost as though a new vista has opened up and the light had filled my entire head. I am 56 yrs old and to be honest I would prefer to take a few chances and maybe break some new ground rather than limit myself to what I feel, is an extremely restricted scope of sensory experience that modern man finds himself with.
  6. Oct 18, 2011 #5
    This doesn't make sense physically. If you're staring at the sun, your pupils will shrink to try to limit the amount of light that your eyes accept (The anti instant blindness mechanism). After looking away you should not see anything clearer, and certainly not brighter unless there is serious eye damage. The new vista opening and light filling your head is almost certainly causing permanent eye damage.
  7. Oct 18, 2011 #6
    Thanks for the link phyzguy and yes, it re-iterates the dangers but look, the other part of my question may be crucial. Is it the particles that are now floating about in the lower atmosphere that are resposible for attenuating the harmful UV light.
  8. Oct 18, 2011 #7
    Mostly the Ozone layer. But yes, all atmosphere absorbs some amount of light.
  9. Oct 18, 2011 #8


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    I just can't get my head around this logic. That's like saying "I'd rather smash my hand with a hammer in case there is some revolutionary discovery to be gained by it". I don't mean to sound flippant but you are risking your sight on the off chance that millions of manhours of research in the fields of solar physics, optics, ophthalmology etc have overlooked some drastic discovery that could be made just by staring at the sun.

    Whilst I applaud you doing a bit of experimentation yourself I would implore you to learn from what is currently known rather than partaking in a dangerous activity. You'll probably find there is far more information than you ever dreamed of that can answer your questions.
  10. Oct 18, 2011 #9
    Hello Ryan M B. re "That's like saying "I'd rather smash my hand with a hammer in case there is some revolutionary discovery to be gained by it". I agree that such an action would hgo beyond the bounds of sensible behaviour by our current standards. Let us never forget how standards are in constant flux, what we think is wrong now may turn around at some point in future. The good thing about science is the discovery of truth and many beliefs from the past that were integral parts of religious belief and faith have been proven not to be correct. Any Normality exists on a sliding scale and is determined by culture. So, you might think it was crazy but what if in doing so I did make an amazing ground breaking discovery. I would be hailed a hero for using myself as the guinea pig. Anyway I am not that daft. I have spent a lifetime avoiding direct eye contact with the sun simply because in the past one has suffered severe after effects. If I felt any danger I would refrain and I will on the basis of your advice but heck, something has changed to make even the most momentary glimpse possible. I spent about one hour looking at it some time ago and like I say, if anything my eyesight has improved. That is an incontrvertable fact.
  11. Oct 18, 2011 #10
    I promise you that this is an absolute fact. I can say no more than that. My eyes absorbed the rays and brightened my visual outlook. You can test me if you like. I should say that my eyesight is pretty poor to begin with. My right eye has been lazy since childhood and I need glasses to read etc.
  12. Oct 18, 2011 #11


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    The standards for science are very good. One person looking at the sun and reporting effects without prior knowledge or expertise does not fulfil them.
    I disagree, I suspect you would be seen as a lucky fool (no offence intended). Regardless you are ignoring the fact that you are not investigating a new phenomenon, there are mountains of data regarding the sun, optics and the human eye.
    It isn't incontrovertible because there is no evidence for it (sorry but personal anecdote doesn't count). Honestly, what do you expect to discover from this dangerous activity that wouldn't have been noted by all the research ever done on the topic? This is crazy logic. I don't mean to be offensive and I applaud your curiosity but there are better ways to going about things. Look up the sun, vision and all these other things. Staring into the sun by yourself is nothing knew and you should read up on what is known rather than damaging your eyes for no reason.
  13. Oct 18, 2011 #12


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    No. Facts are things verifiable and verified by independent sources.

    What you have there is a perception. And perception - especially when you push the leaky edges of performance of your faculties - is fallible.

    You are surely experiencing something that may seem like clearer vision, but it may or may not be so - like datacloud's example of how good it feels after you stop banging your head with a hammer.

    What is a fact is that you are damaging your eyes.
  14. Oct 18, 2011 #13


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    This topic is foolish and dangerous and it's closed.
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