(WBTV) - In Parts 1 and 2 I explained the basics of a Solar Eclipse and what you should expect to see depending on where you go.
Now the important part: YOU MUST understand how to view the eclipse safely in order to avoid permanent eye damage, even possible blindness!
Most people are aware by now you must use specially made and certified eclipse glasses. See the accompanying picture as your meteorologist and model Eric Thomas poses with them. They are typically made of cardboard and for that reason are not expensive. If you are heading into the path of totality and plan to be near or part of an eclipse event, there is a good chance they will be passing them out.
But if you don't want to gamble, here is a site I recommend.
You may be able to get them locally too, check your local Lowes Home Improvement Center, I've spotted them there just inside the entrance. There have been reports, even a warning from NASA, that some shady companies are producing and selling unsafe glasses.
Here are a few things to look for printed on the glasses you are buying to make sure they are safe:
- Look for this certification printed on them: ISO 12312-2
- These companies have been approved by NASA, look for their name on the glasses.
- Do not use the glasses if they are older than three years
- Do not use the glasses if they are scratched or wrinkled
- DO NOT USE ORDINARY SUNGLASSES!
Remember, seeing any or all of the above printed on your glasses still doesn't guarantee you haven't picked up a counterfeit pair. Make sure you know who you are buying from, not some knock-off from a shady reseller on the internet.
If you are lucky enough to be in the path of totality, you CAN remove your glasses during the total eclipse at which point the sun is totally blocked, but you can still see the corona. But be careful and make sure it is safe to remove them, and get them back on in plenty of time before the sun reappears.
Finally, if you do not have eclipse glasses, see the accompanying pictures for other ways to view it!