We almost forgot Donald Trump stared directly at the Sun during a solar eclipse

We almost forgot Donald Trump stared directly at the Sun during a solar eclipse

President Donald Trump stares straight at the Sun (Picture: Getty)

Can you believe it’s been almost seven years since Donald Trump stared directly at a solar eclipse?

Yes, the President of the United States. Makes you wonder.

It all happened back in 2017, less than a year into his turbulent presidency. Still, the nation came together to enjoy the ‘Great American Eclipse’. Unfortunately for President Trump, he did not heed the warning that staring at a solar eclipse – without the right eyewear – is a truly terrible idea. 

Covering the stunning event live, the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs wrote: ‘At approximately 2:39, the President initially gesticulated to the crowd below and pointed at the sky.

‘As he did so, one of the White House aides standing beneath the Blue Room Balcony shouted “don’t look”.’

Unfortunately, President Trump wasn’t the only one staring straight into the Sun that day.

Nia Payne, 26, was also excited to view 2017’s solar eclipse – and now has it burnt into her retinas forever. 

Ms Payne began watching the eclipse without protective eyewear, looking at the Sun for about six seconds as it passed over Staten Island, New York. Here, the Sun was around 70% eclipsed. Then, realising this was a bad idea, she borrowed a pair of eclipse glasses, and watched for another 15 to 20 seconds.  

However, it seemed the glasses weren’t up to standard and didn’t shield her eyes sufficiently.

For two days, Ms Payne said she saw a black shape similar to the eclipse itself in the centre of her vision. She then went to the emergency room, where doctors performed a detailed scan of her retinas.

The mirror image of the eclipse burnt on Nia Payne’s retina (Picture: New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai)

They found her burnt retina was a mirror image of the partial eclipse itself, and her case has been published in the JAMA Ophthalmology.

Dr Avnish Deobhakta, from Mount Sinai, said at the time: ‘We looked directly at the specialised cells of the retina that receive the light.

‘Those cells are the ones that are the most affected when the eclipse actually shines its rays when you’re looking at it.

‘In this case, with this patient, we were able to image how the rays of the Sun actually created a burn in the shape of an eclipse directly onto the retina. So it was actually in the shape of the eclipse that you would have seen in the sky in New York City.’

Unfortunately, her ailment, known as solar retinopathy, has no known treatment. 

Where the eclipse will be visible (Picture: Metro.co.uk/ Datawrapper)

So if you are planning on watching next month’s spectacular phenomenon, you need to use special glasses that are a lot darker than just regular sunglasses – which need to be bought from a reputable source. 

Recently, fake solar eclipse glasses have been appearing on the market. Glasses must meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard, otherwise the Sun’s rays can still penetrate your retina. 

To check they are legit, when you wear them inside you shouldn’t be able to see anything except very bright lights, which should appear faint. If you can make out objects, they’re not strong enough.

Alternatively you can use special solar binoculars, or make a pinhole projector for alternatives to the glasses. 

The total solar eclipse will happen on April 8, over North America as it travels from Mexico to Canada. 

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