Despite reported counsel from a White House aide, the President appeared to buck all scientific advice and stare directly into the sun as the moon briefly usurped it in the sky:
But he also looked with the proper protection:
But maybe it was already too late for his weak, old eyeballs:
I must say that I, too, bent to my rogue desire and stared directly at the eclipse with my naked eye. I'd heard all the woeful cautioneering of the doctors on NPR. "Don't look!" They said, "Or else you'll get a crescent burnt into your retina!"
But I was, perhaps foolishly, with Hamilton Nolan on this one:
What is an eclipse? It’s when the sun is partly covered up. By definition that means that less of the sun is showing than on a normal day. If you’ve ever seen the sun on a normal day—and I know you have—that means you looked at more of the sun than will be showing during the eclipse. And by the formula of (Sun area showing)=(How much light), we can deduce that all the times you’ve looked at the sun before today, you’ve seen more of it than you would see during an eclipse. That, to me, is a strong indication that it’s okay to look up at the eclipse for just a little bit.
I knew Nolan was probably being ironic in this post about the strong urge to glance at the sun against the warnings of scientists. His faithful and earnest-seeming reproduction of the common sense reasoning one drums up to defend such an impulse was probably a subtle critique of the hubristic disposition that allows people to say, "If Global Warming is real then why come the polar vortex happened? Hell, it got cold last night!" But I didn't care. I looked anyway.
The light shining down on Seattle, Washington, felt cold, mortuary, and looked unnaturally silvery. It looked the way I imagine the light looks shortly before or shortly after a nuclear blast.
I glanced at the light's source quickly. Then I glanced away. When I closed my eyes I saw in the total darkness a perfect after-image of the eclipse, the bitten cookie-look of the moon halfway-slid over the sun. It was awesome.
Now when I close my eyes, I see no such image. I believe I have escaped horrible blindness, but I will update this post if anything changes.
This is perhaps the first and the last time that the President and I have seen eye to eye.