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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump looks up toward the Solar Eclipse while standing with his wife first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, on the Truman Balcony at the White House on August 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. Millions of people have flocked to areas of the U.S. that are in the "path of totality" in order to experience a total solar eclipse. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump on Monday took in the solar eclipse from the White House balcony, staring up at the phenomenon without the necessary glasses to protect his eyes before being warned not to do so.

Trump, along with first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, took in the sight from the Truman balcony, which overlooks the South Lawn. While the three had solar eclipse glasses, which protect your eyes as you stare directly at the sun, Trump initially gazed up without eye protection.

An aide shouted “don’t look” at the president as he stared and pointed towards the sun. Moments later, as the peak of the eclipse approached, Trump put on the protective glasses.

Looking directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage, the symptoms of which can take a few days to show up. Those include “dim” sight, loss of central vision, distorted vision, altered colour vision and afterimages.

Washington DC, experienced an approximately 80 per cent eclipse and did not go completely dark. Monday’s was the first total solar eclipse to pass over the majority of the continental US since 1918. The next solar eclipse over the continent will be in 2024. — SCMP

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