That iconic Trump meme may save eyes this solar eclipse

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President Donald Trump squinting astatine nan partially eclipsed sun

President Donald Trump views a star eclipse pinch first woman Melania Trump astatine nan White House connected Aug. 21, 2017. Credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images News

Total Solar Eclipse 2024

In 2024, a uncommon full star eclipse will walk complete nan U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Millions will person nan chance to spot nan satellite wholly artifact retired nan sun, revealing our star's ghostly atmosphere. It's a thrilling event. Here's everything you request to know.


About 7 years ago, photographers grabbed their cameras for nan rare chance to sprout a full star eclipse, pinch nan sun's wispy ambiance revealed against nan acheronian sky. 

But possibly nan astir memorable photos taken during 2017's Great American Eclipse were not of nan corona but of erstwhile President Donald Trump stepping retired connected nan White House portico to acquisition nan space arena for himself.

In an intriguing twist, nan famed Trump eclipse photos whitethorn person served arsenic 1 of nan farthest-reaching, albeit unintended, nationalist work campaigns astir nan dangers of staring astatine nan sun. NASA and respective aesculapian associations person tried to dispersed nan connection that there's thing clone news astir star retinopathy, (although, OK, not successful those words).

President Donald Trump looking astatine nan sun

President Donald Trump squinted and pointed up astatine nan exposed sun connected Aug. 21, 2017. Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

On Aug. 21, 2017, Trump stole a mates of glances astatine nan exposed sun, seemingly unperturbed by nan warnings from ophthalmologists and his governmental handlers. With a grimace tugging astatine nan corners of his mouth, he squinted skyward. His protective glasses, which he later put on, were nestled successful his overgarment pocket. 

"Don't look," an adjutant shouted from below

Too late. A meme was born. 

Tweet whitethorn person been deleted

Here's what added substance to nan fire: Hours earlier nan president moreover stepped outside, a personification connected nan societal level X, past known arsenic Twitter, posted a brace of fake, satirical New York Times news alerts claiming that Trump had "suffered imperishable oculus damage" aft staring astatine nan star eclipse, according to KnowYourMeme.com, a institution that collects and researches net phenomena. Within 24 hours, that tweet, by @leyawn, received tens of thousands of likes and retweets.

"It was benignant of for illustration a Nostradamus pre-meme astir thing that would later go a meme," said Don Caldwell, Know Your Meme's editor-in-chief. 

And successful existent meme fashion, it spawned a life of its own. The front page of nan New York Daily News nan adjacent time featured 1 of nan photos pinch nan header "Not Too Bright!" 

President Donald Trump squinting during nan star eclipse

A Twitter personification seemed to foretell this would happen, adding substance to nan net meme. Credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Now nan state is successful deja vu. It's "decision 2024," and nan experts judge Americans will beryllium inclined to make a bully choice, acknowledgment successful portion to these celebrated images: We're talking, of course, astir nan determination to deterioration solar shades aliases not connected April 8, erstwhile a swath of nan United States will acquisition yet different full eclipse. 

At first, nan 2017 Trump photos and video footage made Dr. Ralph Chou unhappy. Chou is simply a Canadian who led nan world complaint to make information standards for star eclipse glasses. But looking astatine nan sun during an eclipse is really a communal foible, he said, and sometimes a enticement excessively beardown to veto. 

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"The Donald was nary different from anybody other successful that respect," Chou told Mashable. 

And added: "It conscionable underscores that cipher who is opinionated nether nan sun is immune to these kinds of things." 

President Donald Trump holding up his eclipse glasses

President Donald Trump, alongside first woman Melania Trump, shows nan crowd he so has star eclipse shades. Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

In nan immense governmental genre of memes, astir are wielded by nan detractors, intending to overgarment their force arsenic incompetent aliases unfit. But connected nan web, 1 viral photograph tin immortalize a infinitesimal — and its effect tin beryllium much than a punchline. It tin moreover unify a organization nether a shared idea. 

Like, say, looking straight astatine a partial eclipse is unwise? 

"Memes are very powerful devices for spreading messages, sentiments, tribal bonding," Caldwell said. "There's each kinds of things that memes tin do, and I deliberation this 1 apt had galore of those things going on." 

Tweet whitethorn person been deleted

The satellite will expanse its protector complete nan continent arsenic it crosses successful beforehand of nan sun connected April 8, starting connected Mexico's occidental coast, arcing from Texas to Maine, entering Canada done Ontario, and exiting nan continent from Newfoundland. Major U.S. cities successful this corridor, known arsenic nan "path of totality," will see Dallas, Indianapolis, and Cleveland.

When — and only erstwhile — nan satellite wholly conceals nan aboveground of nan sun tin people successful nan path region their protective eyewear without consequence of ocular impairment aliases blindness. 

The retina's occupation is to person ray into electrical signals for nan brain. When a personification looks astatine nan sun without protective star filters, nan radiation tin easy overtax nan retinas. As a consequence, cells commencement to suffer chemic attacks and power up to nan constituent of frying nan tissue.

"It conscionable underscores that cipher who is opinionated nether nan sun is immune to these kinds of things."

Some group deliberation arsenic agelong arsenic they conscionable make speedy glances, they'll beryllium fine. But experts opportunity respective small peeks during nan time tin beryllium arsenic harmful arsenic a agelong stare. Some folks besides judge if their eyes don't hurt, they haven't caused immoderate damage. But retinas don't person symptom receptors. 

President Donald Trump putting connected star eclipse filters

And nan protective eyewear goes on. Credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

However group are getting nan connection astir imaginable star oculus injuries, it seems to beryllium working, based connected really White House onlookers reacted to Trump's momentary slip, Chou said. 

"I besides heard a batch of group reminding him correct away, arsenic soon arsenic they saw what he was doing, 'Get your glasses on, get your glasses on,' and he did," Chou said. "For once, he really listened." 

The mobility now is whether he'll don nan protective glasses from nan run way connected April 8.

"It should beryllium connected 1 of those betting websites: Is he going to look astatine nan eclipse again?" Caldwell said. "I wonderment what nan over-under would be." 

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Elisha Sauers is nan abstraction and early tech newsman for Mashable, willing successful asteroids, astronauts, and astro nuts. In complete 15 years of reporting, she's covered a assortment of topics, including health, business, and government, pinch a penchant for FOIA and different nationalist records requests. She antecedently worked for The Virginian-Pilot successful Norfolk, Virginia, and The Capital successful Annapolis, Maryland, now known arsenic The Capital-Gazette. Her activity has earned galore authorities awards, including nan Virginia Press Association's apical honor, Best successful Show,  and national recognition for communicative storytelling. In her first twelvemonth covering abstraction for Mashable, Sauers grabbed a National Headliner Award for hit reporting. Send abstraction tips and communicative ideas to [email protected] aliases matter 443-684-2489. Follow her connected Twitter astatine @elishasauers.

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