Feb 20, 2024 - News

Where to find solar eclipse glasses in Austin

Illustration of repeating solar glasses, with some missing.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Don't wait until the big solar spectacle to find eclipse glasses.

What's happening: A historic solar eclipse will occur on April 8, and Central Texas is in its path of totality. But to ensure safe viewing, you must wear eclipse glasses or viewers that meet international standard ISO 12312-2, writes Axios' Analis Bailey.

  • "Sunglasses, smoked glass, unfiltered telescopes or magnifiers and polarizing filters can transmit far more sunlight than is safe for our eyes and should not be used as substitutes," American Optometric Association president Ronald L. Benner told Axios.

What they're saying: "By mid-March 2024, we expect to start hearing reports about various sellers running out of stock," Richard Tresch Fienberg, a senior adviser at the American Astronomical Society, told Axios. "It'll get worse the closer we get to April 8."

  • "In 2017, we saw companies selling out during the last few weeks before the Aug. 21 'Great American' solar eclipse," Fienberg said.

Zoom in: All Austin Public Library branches will have a limited number of free eclipse glasses beginning April 4, and nine locations will host eclipse viewing parties with free glasses for attendees.

  • Plus, all city recreation centers, senior centers and the Austin Nature & Science Center will begin distributing a total of 10,000 free glasses starting March 11.
  • You can confidently buy ISO-compliant solar glasses from Lowes and Walmart, according to the American Astronomical Society.

State of play: Experts warn eclipse viewers that counterfeit products are flooding the market and you may not be able to tell if glasses are a scam.

  • Viewers should inspect eclipse glasses or handheld viewers before use and discard them if torn, scratched or damaged.
  • A list of reputable manufacturers and authorized vendors can be found here.
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