These popular searches show Donald Trump wasn’t the only one who ignored advice about the eclipse

Google has recorded a spike in searches from people worried that looking at the sun during the eclipse damaged their eyes.

Google Trends data shows key phrases including “my eyes hurt” and “I looked at the sun” spiked just before 8pm on August 21 across the United States.

Google Trends around eclipse search terms
(Google Trends)

Ahead of the eclipse, advice was to wear special glasses for viewing the event. Anyone who did not have glasses was instructed on how to make pinhole cameras or to view the eclipse through everything from a colander to a doughnut.

Yet even US President Donald Trump ignored the warning, choosing to look skywards without any protection, as he first stepped outside at the White House with his wife Melania. The couple both went on to wear eclipse glasses.

Trump looks at the eclipse without any eye protection (Andrew Harnik/AP)
(Andrew Harnik/AP)

Google categorised the trending questions as “breakout” searches because there was a tremendous increase in search frequency and the queries were new and had few prior searches.

In addition, many people were wondering if their headache had been caused by viewing the eclipse. Google Trends again recorded a spike just before 8pm.

The spike in the search term solar eclipse headache on August 21 in the US according to Google Trends (Google Trends)
(Google Trends)

Comments were also flying on Twitter with people worried about looking at the sun and sky, both with and without glasses.

In the run-up to August 21, searching for information about the eclipse followed a pattern. The interest was higher in areas where there would be a total eclipse rather than partial.

Searching for interest in the solar eclipse between July 25 and August 1 aligned with the path of totality (Google Trends)
(Google Trends)

The same was true on Twitter on the day, where the conversation about the #Eclipse2017 aligned with the path of totality.


 

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