If you're planning on watching the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, and you haven't yet bought solar eclipse glasses or safety lenses — stop what you're doing, go online, and buy them stat. Almost all of the pairs certified by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) are sold out, save for a few options.
Unfortunately, most of the sites that still have eclipse glasses in stock will require you to buy them in bulk. You can still buy glasses with the proper safety verification — ISO 12312-2 — from American Paper Optics ($100 per pack of 25) and B&H Photo ($44.95 per pack of 10). If you want something with a bit more heft than the paper glasses, opt for a pair of Celestron EclipSmart Solar Binoculars, available at Adorama ($44.95).
Warby Parker confirmed to Refinery29 that their stores still have pairs of free glasses, which they will be distributing until they run out of stock. You can also head to one of these libraries for a free pair.
The importance of buying safety certified glasses from a reputable vendor is paramount: Fail to wear the proper eyewear when looking at the sun on eclipse day and you could suffer serious, possibly permanent eye damage. Just because you see a pair of eclipse glasses that claim to meet the proper safety standards, doesn't mean they actually do. There have been reports of fraudulent sellers, and even Amazon has issued refunds to consumers who may have purchased uncertified glasses from the site. The coffee chain Dutch Bros Coffee has also issued a recall on the glasses it gave customers. So it's worth double checking the AAS list before buying.
When you do get your hands on a pair of certified glasses, be sure to order with two- or three-day delivery to ensure your glasses arrive in time for Monday's eclipse: NASA reports the eclipse will start near Lincoln City, Oregon at 1:15 p.m. and totality — the moment when the moon completely covers the sun — will conclude near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. (Check out this map for more exact information on when the total solar eclipse will be visible where you are.)
Remember, your pair of regular polarized shades can handle the sun on a regular basis, but they're no match for the sun during a total eclipse. If you aren't able to get your hands on a pair of eclipse glasses in time, go the next best route and create a pinhole camera.
This piece was originally published on August 16, 2017.