Queensland Fair Trading releases steps for safe viewing of astronomical events

29 May 2012

This year two rare astronomical events will take place in Australia, the Transit of Venus and a total solar eclipse. Read the information available here and follow these tips for viewing these phenomena safely.

This year two rare astronomical events will take place in Australia, the Transit of Venus and a total solar eclipse.

The Transit of Venus occurs when you are able to see the planet Venus pass across the face of the Sun. This event will take place on 6 June 2012. 

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun as it passes between the Sun and the Earth. On 14 November 2012, parts of Queensland will experience a total solar eclipse.

Safety tips

The Queensland Fair Trading office recommend the following tips for viewing these rare phenomena safely.

  • Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection. It is possible to suffer serious and permanent eye damage by looking at a solar eclipse the wrong way, even for a very short time.
  • Always use solar eclipse glasses, or filters that have been made specifically to attach to hand-held glasses, telescopes or binoculars for safe solar eclipse viewing.
  • Look for filters that have been appropriately certified against the European Standard for personal eye equipment (EN 1836:2005+A1:2007) or the Australian Standard for welding shields and goggles with a lens category higher than 12 (AS/NZS 1338.2:1992 & AS/NZS 1338.1:1992).
  • Before using solar eclipse glasses or filters, check to see if they are scratched or damaged. If so, do not use them as they will not fully protect your eyes.
  • Do not use solar eclipse glasses or filters that do not show compliance with the Standards listed above - they may do you more harm than good.
  • Do not look directly through binoculars, telescopes or camera optical viewfinders. It is not safe to use regular sunglasses, exposed film or x-ray film to view a solar eclipse.
  • Alternative safe viewing methods include using pinhole, binocular or telescope projection. Visit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Sun-Earth Day website for details on how to do this safely.  For information on filters for telescopes or binoculars visit NASA's Eclipse website.

Download the fact sheet.

For more information visit the Astronomical Association of Queensland website.

Contact for more information

Queensland Fair Trading contact details