Skin Protective Measures Taken during the 2017 North American Solar Eclipse in Georgia

Alan E. Stewart*, Michael G. Kimlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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A total solar eclipse occurred over North America on 21 August 2017 and was a much-publicized astronomical event whose observance depended upon favorable weather. The eclipse also was a biometeorological event because people needed to both protect their both eyes and skin from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Although much attention was devoted in the media to the visual experience of the eclipse and to eye protection, skin protection received almost no emphasis. Thus, the authors surveyed 1014 university students in Athens, Georgia shortly after the eclipse event about their skin protective behaviors. Overall, people observed the eclipse outside for approximately one hour. The time spent outside differed significantly according to peoples’ self-reported skin response to the sun. The respondents also indicated that that they observed the eclipse for significantly longer periods of time than would be needed for them to receive a sunburn. Other than wearing sunglasses and using eclipse glasses, the most frequent skin protective measures were to seek shade and to wear short-sleeve shirts. Wearing additional clothing, hats, or any type of sunscreen were comparatively infrequent. We discussed the need for safeguarding the skin because every sunburn event at younger ages can increase the likelihood of skin cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1888
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


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