If you’re planning on staring at the sun during the solar eclipse on August 21, you’re going to need to either a) prepare to have your retinas burned or b) grab some ISO-compliant safe solar eclipse viewing glasses.
Your first stop in the pursuit of solar eclipse glasses should be your local library. Thanks to support from NASA, Google, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, 6,900 libraries across the U.S. have been given solar eclipse glasses to hand out for free, according to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) website. Check the map here to see if your local branch received any of the glasses.
If your local library is all out, head either online or to the store. Purchasing approved specs has been complicated by some vendors doling out counterfeit—or at least unapproved—glasses. Amazon has been issuing refunds to anyone who bought unapproved glasses through their site. If you’re not sure, AAS has a list of recommended eclipse glasses vendors who are selling the real deal.
It’s also pretty easy to pick up glasses while grabbing a Slurpee or a bag of Cheetos on your way to the Path of Totality because 7-Eleven is on the list of AAS-approved official retailers of solar eclipse glasses:
- Circle K
- Love’s Travel Shops
- London Drugs
- Lowe’s, Pilot/Flying J
- Toys “R” Us
- Hobby Town
- Best Buy
- Casey’s General Store
Also, Warby Parker is reportedly handing out free solar eclipse glasses at its retail outlets.
If you’re striking out everywhere, there are a few work-arounds. Watch NASA’s live-stream of the eclipse or, according to an expert who spoke with Time, if you can’t get your hands on glasses, eclipse enthusiasts can also feel free to hold a colander up to the sky, as apparently that will project an image of the sun, and the eclipse, on the ground and not look weird at all. Perhaps Pastafarians have been preparing for this moment their entire lives.ML