Staring at the sun is a bad idea - here’s why

As a child, most of us have tried staring at the sun maybe just as a challenge to ourselves or to prove our elders wrong. However, science truly opposes your idea of fun and here’s why.

What happens when you stare at the sun?


An experiment

Just to get an idea of what exactly would happen if you watched the sun through the telescope, an astronomer placed a pig behind the telescope. The eye of the pig got burned in a mere 20 seconds!

Normal visual process

In a concept similar to how our vision processes, one can only see something when the object reflects off light. This light then passes through the cornea of our eyes and reaches the retina. Retina is that part of the eye which contains cells that are sensitive to light and pass on this information to the brain for it to perceive.

Effect of sun on your eyes


The light from the sun is nearly 4000 times that of a light bulb. A short exposure can cause a hazy vision for sometime due to numbing of the retinoctyes.

A prolonged exposure can lead to serious issues including burning of the retina, called retinopathy. This may cost you your normal vision.

No pain receptors in the eye

Since there are no pain receptors in the eye, one wouldn’t realise the impact of the sun rays. Two things might affect you the worst. UV rays and bright light, equally damage your eye, similar to a sun tan. This condition is then called as solar retinitis. A more permanent condition, causing loss of vision is called as solar retinopathy. This happens in the rare cases of prolonged gazing at the sun during a solar eclipse.

Eclipse and sun rays


One might think it is safe to stare at the sun during an eclipse, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Although the sun is shadowed out during an eclipse, the more concentrated rays still do affect your vision nearly the same!

Sun is the brightest star of our solar system and it lives up to its reputation. If you’re really keen on star gazing, try those which are far away from us and keep twinkling away in the night!