An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won’t want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures. Don’t let the requisite warnings scare you away from witnessing this singular spectacle! You can experience the eclipse safely, but it is vital that you protect your eyes at all times with the proper solar filters. No matter what recommended technique you use, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and give your eyes a rest! Do not use sunglasses: they don’t offer your eyes sufficient protection. One excellent resource for safe solar eclipse viewing is here: http://www.nasa.gov/content/eye-safety-during-a-total-solar-eclipse
Viewing with Protection
Experts suggests that one widely available filter for safe solar viewing is number 14 welder’s glass. It is imperative that the welding hood houses a #14 or darker filter. Do not view through any welding glass if you do not know or cannot discern its shade number. Be advised that arc welders typically use glass with a shade much less than the necessary #14. A welding glass that permits you to see the landscape is not safe. Inexpensive eclipse glasses have special safety filters that appear similar to sunglasses, but these do permit safe viewing.
Telescopes with Solar Filters
Eclipses are best viewed directly when magnified, which means a telescope with a solar filter or solar telescopes. These will give you a magnified view that will clearly show the progress of an eclipse. Never look through a telescope without a solar filter on the large end of the scope. And never use small solar filters that attach to the eyepiece (as found in some older, cheaper telescopes.)
Pinhole projectors – Pinhole projectors and other projection techniques are a safe, indirect viewing technique for observing an image of the sun. These provide a popular way for viewing solar eclipses.
Related projection methods – One viewing technique is to project an image of the Sun onto a white surface with a projecting telescope. This is explained further here: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/publications/tnl/05/stars2.html
The Exploratorium demonstrates how to view a planet in transit or an eclipse safely by projecting the image with binoculars: projecting the image with binoculars: http://www.exploratorium.edu/transit/how.html. There are commercially available projection telescopes as well.