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Science, Health, Tech

Can't find eclipse glasses? There are other ways to look at the sun safely

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Courtesy of NASA
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If you’re on the last minute hunt for eclipse viewing glasses, you might be out of luck.

“We have just been inundated with calls from people looking for the eclipse glasses and unfortunately we’ve sold out,” said Judi Provencal, a resident astronomer at Mt. Cuba Observatory in Greenville.

Stores that reported having certified eclipse glasses, like Lowes and Home Depot, have claimed to sell out too.

“You cannot get your hands on them right now,” said John Wickart, the chief of interpretation for Delaware State parks.

Delaware State Parks, the Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation in Smyrna, and several libraries across the state, will have limited stockpiles of glasses available to those who attend their viewing parties Monday.

“We do have a concern that if an extremely large number shows up, that we might run out,” Wickart said.

Fortunately, Provencal said, there are other ways to safely view the partial eclipse. One of those ways is as simple as poking a hole into a piece of cardboard, and making a “pinhole camera.”

“And then you can hold that up to the sun and it will create an image of a solar eclipse behind it, and you can project that onto another piece of cardboard,” Provencal said.

You can also take some black and white film, expose it to the sun and get it developed before Monday. Then, you’ve made yourself a solar filter, Provencal said.

NASA has put together a list of tips to safely view the total solar eclipse, or in Delaware’s case – the partial one. Some of them include:

• Inspecting your solar filter before using it.

• Using approved solar eclipse glasses. If you can’t find those, Welders glass with a shade of 12 or higher works as well.

• Supervising children using solar filters.

• Do not use sunglasses to view the eclipse.

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