Scientists Suggest Wearing Red And Green During The Eclipse – Here Is Why

A lot of cool things are going to happen when the Moon obscures the Sun on Monday. If you are in the path of totality, which extends from Mexico to Canada, this celestial encounter will bring a few minutes of darkness to your day. Your eyes will obviously be on the sky but they will wander to earthly things as well and, for that reason, scientists have outfit suggestions.

You should be wearing red and green together if possible because something cool will happen to how the colors appear to our eyes. The reds will be dark and muted while the greens stay vibrant. This is known as the Purkinje effect and takes us back to the beginning of human understanding of vision.

Czech anatomist Jan Evangelista Purkyn realized that during a walk at dawn, the colors of flowers appeared different than during the bright afternoon Sun. He suggested that the eye must have two systems to see colors which, 200 years ago, got him quite close to the actual explanation.

Vision in the eye happens thanks to receptors called rods and cones. They are located on the retina and they do very different things. At low light levels, rods are the one that gets active. They do not help with the colors and have low spatial acuity. This is known as the scotopic vision. When there’s a lot of light, it’s the cones that are active, which bring the high spatial acuity and the ability to see colors. This is called photopic vision.

    

But there is a third vision when the light levels are in between dark and bright. It is called mesopic vision and both cones and rods are active. If at dawn or dusk, your eyesight seems worse, that is why. So you might start seeing the connection with the eclipse. At totality, the sky darkens very suddenly so your eyes have no time to get used to the usual slow change you experience at dawn or dusk.

Reds will all of sudden appear much darker than they did a few minutes before. Greens on the other hand will be brighter. Hence the suggestion of the colors for garments. The sudden change will be quite striking, so it is worth engineering the presence of those colors around you.

Remember this is just a physiological effect, you won’t be able to photograph it. If you want to photograph the eclipse, however, we have a few suggestions. And also stay safe: many warnings have been issued for the path of totality and never look at the Sun without proper glasses. Be safe and be smart about it.

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