If you have not gotten a pair of glasses to view Monday’s solar eclipse, you are not alone.
Retail stores and online outlets across the country have reported that supplies are low or nonexistent in the hours before the 2017 solar eclipse.
If you haven’t secured a pair, there are a few things you can do to safely watch the eclipse.
Here are some tips.
Is there any way to still get glasses?
Some vendors may have a few pairs left, but they are going fast. Click here to find the American Astronomical Society’s list of approved glasses sellers. Many libraries are hosting events. Click here to see an updated list from NASA. The libraries will have glasses for the event. Scientific societies are holding viewing events as well, and they will likely have some glasses to give out.
What if I don’t have glasses?
You do not have to have glasses to watch an eclipse. Read what NASA says about it:
“The safest and most inexpensive method of viewing an eclipse is by projection, in which a pinhole or small opening is used to cast the image of the sun on a screen placed a half-meter or more beyond the opening. Projected images of the sun may even be seen on the ground in the small openings created by interlacing fingers, or in the dappled sunlight beneath a leafy tree. Binoculars can also be used to project a magnified image of the sun on a white card, but you must avoid the temptation of using these instruments for direct viewing.”
For those who missed school the day astrophysics was taught, here’s what that means:
You can take something as common as a shoe box to make a device that will let you watch the eclipse without looking directly at the sun; you can actually use your fingers to view the eclipse; you can stand underneath a tree and see a cool display that reflects through the leaves; you can use binoculars to project the sun’s image on a white card, but do not look at the sun with them. Don’t ever.
So what if you can’t get a pair of glasses?
If you can’t get glasses for the cosmic block party, start gathering some common supplies.
From NASA, here’s how to make a pinhole viewer.
You can also make a pinhole camera. Click here to see how to make the device that lets light pass through a hole and project an image of the sun onto a light surface.
Can I look at the sun at any time during the eclipse?
You can look at the sun during the eclipse while wearing certified eclipse glasses, welding glass (level 14) or other filters. You can look at the sun without the protection ONLY during the two minutes or so when the moon completely blocks out the sun. Only look at the sun without glasses if you live in the area of totality – a narrow strip of the country where the sun will be completely blocked out.
For the rest in the area where the sun is only partially blocked out, keep the glasses on. Do not look at the partially blocked sun without them.
So what if I do look at the sun without protection?
You could, and likely will, damage your retina, leading to vision damage.
What if I want to see it, but not go out to look at it?
No problem, all the major networks, and cable channels will be carrying the eclipse live. ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, Fox and other cable outlets have plans to broadcast the progress of the eclipse across the country.
NASA will livestream the eclipse starting at 1 p.m. ET. NASA plans views from balloons, satellites, and telescopes.
What about taking a photo? Will it damage my iPhone?
The eclipse won't damage your phone's camera, according to c/net. C/net’s post explains how to use your iPhone or an Android phone to capture the eclipse.