No doubt, in the past couple of weeks if you’ve tried to purchase ISO-certified eclipse viewing glasses, you’ve had tough luck. Following high demand, vendors on amazon are only selling these glasses in bulk packs, sometimes as expensive as $300 for a 5 pairs. Rental cars are booked out for that day as are hotels along the total-eclipse path.
Nonetheless, there are still many bright sides under the sun:
1) Libraries across the USA are hosting eclipse-viewing events. If you are able to attend one of these events at your local library, or contact them for information, you might still be able to find some glasses (and likely for free!): http://spacescience.org/software/libraries/map.php
2) Media projects everything to become bloated. Solar eclipses occur around the world every year. While it’s true that the last-total-solar-eclipse-to-span-all-of-North-America was 99 years ago, the next one of that same kind is only 7 years from now on April 8, 2024.
3) A solar eclipse is not a visual event. It’s an experience. And viewing the sun through glasses is one of many ways to have this experience.
Other ways include using a colander or making a pinhole camera to view the phenomenon without looking directly at the sun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKgK-hGmFQQ
Another way is to observe what’s happening around you under the eclipse. Even though a lot of hard science doesn’t exist (yet), there have been accounts of animals acting differently during solar eclipses: http://www.cnn.com/…/animals-react-to-the-eclipse/index.html
It’s important to not rely on only one of your senses during an eclipse. One eclipse chaser from San Diego remarked: “No photo or video can convey the experience of a total eclipse, but audio recordings come closest. I am not a very emotional person, but when I listen to recordings I have made at previous eclipses, I often get tears in my eyes.” So watch out for changes in the air, in sounds, and in plants and animals outside!
There’s nothing more wonderful actually than learning itself. Hearing and learning about what others have experienced has a higher value than it might sound. There’s a wonderful TED talk up by an eclipse chaser ( https://www.ted.com/…/david_baron_you_owe_it_to_yourself_to… ) as well as these brilliant individual accounts that are definitely worth reading: https://www.buzzfeed.com/sallytam…/astronomers-and-eclipses…
From an Islamic viewpoint, eclipses are seen as two signs among the signs of God that He shows His worshipers—so when we see them, we pray, invoke Him, and ask for His forgiveness. A beautiful, lengthy prayer called Salat-ul-Kusoof is designated for eclipses. An eclipse is seen as an opportunity to reflect and remember God, and to connect to His presence. This prayer has been the most powerful experience of an eclipse I’ve personally had.
And again, I can’t stress it enough: do not look at the sun without certified eye wear. Do not look at the sun through a reflection of something (mirror, CD, water). Do not, do not, do not be careless about this. Eyesight > eclipse.
Happy experiencing! 🙂 ❤
[image credit: NASA]