Eclipse glasses are a must-have for any skygazer within the path of totality of this month’s Great American Eclipse. But reports are now suggesting that these specially-designed glasses are in short supply, what with people flocking to get a pair well in advance of the big day.
According to Mercury News, some of America’s biggest retailers are all out of stock, with Lowe’s and Walmart not having a single pair of eclipse glasses available per last check, and REI’s stocks on back order. Even the Space Science Institute, which delivered about 2 million pairs of glasses to libraries around the U.S., has run out of specs for would-be Great American Eclipse viewers. Worse, most companies selling eclipse glasses are no longer taking orders, though there are a few, such as American Paper Optics, that only accept bulk orders of 50 or 100 pairs.
Alpine Astronomical, an Idaho-based glasses distributor that ran out of stock on Wednesday, admitted to being a bit too modest in forecasting demand ahead of the Great American Eclipse, though it has a rush order from Germany expected to come in soon.
“Demand has been sky high. It started two and a half weeks ago and has about doubled each week since,” said Alpine Astronomical spokesman Bob Luffel in an interview with the Mercury News.
“We were a little skeptical and conservative like everyone else.”
There are other options for buyers who need a pair of eclipse glasses in time for the Great American Eclipse, the Mercury News noted. However, they can either be sketchy products without the proper stamp of approval, or premium-priced items, such as science educator Bill Nye’s branded glasses, which cost a hefty $100 per pair. And that’s not including fees for rush shipping, which some buyers might consider to ensure that their specs arrive before August 21.
As reported earlier in the week by the Inquisitr, buyers will need to make sure their eclipse glasses have ISO 12312-2:2015 certification, while also being on the lookout for fake specs that are promoted as eclipse-safe but don’t actually have a legitimate ISO certification. Some of these fakes can even include a bogus certification, despite being little more than your average novelty 3-D glasses that don’t offer a whit of protection.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) August 11, 2017
Looking out for fakes, the Mercury News wrote, may be especially important for those hoping to buy eclipse glasses on Amazon. While there are many listings for these glasses, there’s a good chance you may encounter a cheap knockoff pair, just as illustrated above.
If you’re a student, however, you may be in luck, as a report from Business Insider is suggesting. According to the publication. Mystery Science co-founder Doug Peltz and CEO Keith Schacht are working closely with Google to give away 15,000 free pairs of eclipse glasses to U.S. schools “in the coming weeks.” The main condition behind this deal is that schools have to confirm that at least 200 students will be watching the Great American Eclipse.
The StarNET website also has an interactive map with a list of libraries across the United States that will be hosting Great American Eclipse events on August 21 and offering free glasses to anyone attending these viewing parties.
Although there are some possible workarounds for those who can’t get their hands on eclipse glasses ahead of this month’s total solar eclipse, such as shade 14 welder’s glass goggles or greater, USA Today and other publications have made it very clear — not even the darkest pair of shades could protect your eyes from “eclipse damage” caused by staring at the sun.
[Featured Image by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images]