Where To Get Eclipse Glasses In Time For Aug. 21

Don’t stare directly at a solar eclipse!
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2016-11-18
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A solar eclipse will be visible over North America on Aug. 21. NASA

On Monday, Aug. 21, between approximately 10:15 am Pacific time and 2:45 Eastern, the moon will occlude the sun, resulting in a complete or partial solar eclipse, visible over all of North America.

The best views will occur in a 70-mile-wide band crossing parts of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. Here’s a useful map. Everyone inside the band will experience “totality,” where the sun is completely eclipsed by the moon. During totality, people will be able to look directly at the solar eclipse without protection and witness the sun’s corona form a blazing border around the black disc of the moon.

Everyone else better find some eclipse glasses.

According to the American Astronomical Society, sunglasses just ain’t going to cut it, as the eclipse can transmits “thousands of times” too much sunlight right into your peepers. Instead, you’ll need certified eclipse viewers that are compliant with the international ISO 12312-2 safety standards. There’s also lot’s more safety information on the AAS site, which collaborated with the NASA, the National Science Foundation and multiple ophthalmological associations to offer solar eclipse best practices, including, most pertinently, a list of approved vendors.

Unfortunately, as solar eclipse day draws nearer, more and more of the approved vendor list sells out. We went through the whole list and came up with a handful of places where eclipse glasses can still be had in time for the big day (make sure to pick expedited shipping).

Chances are good these stores will soon sell out eclipse glasses too, but if you’re willing to buy bulk there are a few more options:

With so many sites, including REI, Adorama, High Point Scientific, Meade Instruments and American Science & Surplus backordered, there’s massive incentive to sell inferior or even fraudulent eclipse glasses. As such, the American Astronomical Society warns against buying from big online retailers that rely on multiple outside vendors, including Walmart. According to the AAS, Amazon has been “making a good-faith effort” to remove bad vendors and only make available ISO-compliant eclipse glasses, but I was unable to find a vendor able to deliver in time for Aug 21. There are also multiple retail outlets that plan to stock eclipse glasses, including 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Circle K, Hobby Town, Kirklands, Kroger, Lowe’s, Pilot/Flying J and Toys “R” Us.

Finally, it may even possible to score some free eclipse glasses on the day of the solar eclipse by attending official NASA events or checking at your local library.

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