4 Places You Can Still Find Eyewear for Viewing the Solar Eclipse Safely

Eclipse
Photo by Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com

The total solar eclipse of 2017 is now less than a month away. If you haven’t already made travel plans to go see it, or arranged to host travelers for some side money, now is the time.

Once you’ve got that nailed down, all that’s left to do before Aug. 21 is learn how to watch the eclipse safely and purchase safe-viewing accessories.

Solar eclipse safety

The term “solar eclipse” is often used to describe both total solar eclipses and partial solar eclipses, which can cause confusion about viewing safety.

Technically, a total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely covers the sun, when viewed from Earth. A partial solar eclipse is when the moon covers part of the sun.

Both a total and partial eclipse will be visible from the U.S. on Aug. 21, during a rare eclipse route across the breadth of the country: What you will see depends on where you are located at the time.

Folks in certain parts of 14 states will be able to witness a total eclipse — which will last no more than a minute or two. See “13 Best Spots to Watch the Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse” to learn more about where and when the total eclipse will be visible.

It’s safe to look only during when the sun is totally eclipsed by the moon, according to NASA. So if you are in those states during the moments of the total eclipse, when only the sun’s corona is visible, you can watch briefly without safety glasses. But as the moon moves into and out of place, you will see just a partial eclipse, so common sense cautions against damaging your eyes by looking at the sun remain in effect.

A partial eclipse is what will be seen in most of the U.S. on Aug. 21, NASA said in a recent announcement. So you must use protective eyewear if you want to watch the phenomenon.

As NASA summarizes on its “Eclipse Eyeglass Safety” webpage:

“A total solar eclipse is about as bright as the full Moon — and just as safe to look at. But the Sun at any other time is dangerously bright; view it only through special-purpose safe solar filters.”

To be clear: You can permanently damage your vision by looking at the sun with your naked eye at any time outside of the brief moment of a total eclipse.

Safe eyewear for solar eclipses

NASA advises using only protective eyewear that meets all of these criteria:

  • Has certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
  • Has the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
  • Does not have scratched or wrinkled lenses
  • Is not older than three years
  • Is not a homemade filter
  • Is not an ordinary pair of sunglasses — not even very dark ones

Check out NASA’s flyer that shows you how to tell if eyewear meets these criteria.

Five manufacturers produce eclipse viewing accessories that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard, as verified by the American Astronomical Society. Those with bases in the U.S. include:

  1. American Paper Optics
  2. Rainbow Symphony
  3. Thousand Oaks Optical
  4. TSE 17

You may find some products have already sold out, though. Before you buy anything, make sure that the shipping you choose will get your purchase to you before Aug. 21.

You may be able to score a free pair of eclipse glasses from a local library. Several thousand libraries nationwide are providing some 2 million pairs for free. NASA describes them as “safety-certified glasses.” To find a participating library, visit the STAR Net website.

Failing all of those options — or if you just want to be extra protective of your vision — you can enjoy the eclipse from the comfort of your air-conditioned living room or computer desk by simply visiting NASA.gov/EclipseLive on Aug. 21. NASA Television will cover the eclipse in real time as it moves from coast to coast for a special program called “Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA.”

Do you have big plans for the solar eclipse? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Secret Perks of Individual Retirement Accounts
7 Secret Perks of Individual Retirement Accounts

IRAs come with bells and whistles that many other accounts lack — including some perks you may not know exist.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

8 Products to Reduce Anxiety and Stress
8 Products to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Current events have you feeling anxious? These Amazon products can take the edge off.

7 Free Tools for Saving More Money at Amazon
7 Free Tools for Saving More Money at Amazon

Use these websites and other tools to save money — or earn extra cash — when shopping at Amazon.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day
29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

5 Tax Mistakes to Avoid in Retirement
5 Tax Mistakes to Avoid in Retirement

Even great savers can reduce their retirement income by making these mistakes.

Will You Owe Taxes on Last Year’s Stimulus Payments?
Will You Owe Taxes on Last Year’s Stimulus Payments?

It’s the question on everyone’s lips this tax season.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.