Where to buy your eclipse glasses before the total solar eclipse on August 21

Ever since you were a kid, your parents probably told you not to look directly at the sun. The only issue with that is that if you want to watch the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21, you kind of need to stare straight in our closest star’s direction.

Luckily, there are literally dozens of eclipse glasses you can use to protect your eyes from the sun’s strong rays. But knowing which ones to buy, whether they’ll actually protect your eyes, and where to buy them can get a little murky.

SEE ALSO: August is an awesome month for skywatching: Here’s how to make the most of it

If you’re itching to watch the eclipse, but don’t know where to begin looking for the right pair of protective glasses, we’ve got you covered.

Why do I need solar eclipse glasses anyway? 

The total eclipse will cut across the contiguous United States from coast to coast, giving millions of people around the country a chance to see the moon pass in front of and blot out the sun. While it’s safe to look at the sun when the moon is completely covering it during the eclipse, it’s not safe to look at it at any other time. 

If you’re planning to watch the solar eclipse in person, you need to be sure to pick up some high-quality eclipse glasses. 

A map of the path of the eclipse.

Image: NASA

You should be able to look up at the sun and watch as the moon slowly moves in front of the star with a good pair of eclipse glasses. Without the glasses, you could do serious harm to your eyesight, and on top of that, you just won’t have a very good view of the rare eclipse. 

The total eclipse isn’t something you want to miss, either. This marks the first time a total eclipse has graced skies above the lower 48 states since 1979. 

Are all glasses the same?

Not every pair of tinted lenses will protect your eyes. 

The first thing you need to look for in a pair of glasses is a special-purpose safe solar filter, not an average polarized filter or color filter. You should also avoid any eclipse glasses that are older than three years, have scratches, or are wrinkled. And never attempt to make your own solar filter. 

Solar filters are many more times darker than the darkest sunglasses you own. The filters are made to let you safely look directly at the sun by reducing the levels of harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation hitting your eyes.

As eclipse fever hits the U.S., it’s more important than ever to be sure that you’re getting real eclipse glasses, not the fakes that have been popping up recently,…

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