Here’s Why Scientists Recommend Wearing Red and Green Colors During the Eclipse

Experiencing the Purkinje Effect: A Unique Vision Perspective During the Total Solar Eclipse

On Monday, those in the path of totality will experience moments of darkness as a solar eclipse occurs. This natural phenomenon, which extends from Mexico to Canada, will bring about a shift in how colors are perceived. While gazing at the sky during this event, scientists recommend wearing red and green together to experience the unique Purkinje effect.

Czech anatomist Jan Evangelista Purkyně first discovered this phenomenon 200 years ago by observing the different colors of flowers at dawn compared to during the bright afternoon sun. The human eye has receptors called rods and cones located on the retina that are responsible for vision. Rods are active in low light levels, providing no help with colors and low spatial acuity, known as scotopic vision. Cones, on the other hand, are active in bright light, providing high spatial acuity and the ability to see colors, known as photopic vision. Mesopic vision occurs when light levels are in between dark and bright, with both cones and rods active, and this is why eyesight seems worse at dawn or dusk.

During the eclipse, the sudden darkening of the sky will cause a change in how colors are perceived. Reds will appear darker while greens will seem brighter, making them quite striking. It’s important to remember that this change is a physiological effect and cannot be captured in photographs. If you plan to photograph the eclipse, be sure to use proper equipment and never look directly at the sun without adequate eye protection. Stay safe and enjoy this astronomical event!

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