Viewing glasses hard to come by as solar eclipse approaches

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The solar eclipse is only a week away.

Experts are saying you will need protective eyewear if you are going to be watching the eclipse because it can be extremely harmful to your eyes. But with the special glasses selling out fast, where can you find them and how important are they?

OSU astrophysicist and COSI Chief Scientist Paul Sutter, tells NBC4 you’ll see 85% of the sun covered up in Columbus, so you want to make sure you have a pair of protective glasses.

“It is still dangerous to look directly at the sun. You will literally cook your rods and cones,” said Sutter.

The only way to directly view the sun is through solar filter glasses. The peak of the eclipse is a few minutes long and the whole eclipse lasts about three hours.

What makes the day so special and once the glasses are on what can you expect?

“At 2:30 in the afternoon, just a thin sliver of the sun will be visible. We haven’t had a coast to coast eclipse in 99 years so this is a national phenomenon that everyone in the continental United States gets to enjoy,” said Sutter.

Hence the “flying off shelves” which is the response from workers at about a dozen stores around central Ohio who sold the glasses but have now run out.

Jennifer Kennedy wishes she would have grabbed a pair weeks ago for her and her seven-year-old daughter.

“We should have apparently, because apparently, theirs sold out, we’re hoping to find some somewhere. Call around,” Kennedy said.

Bob Meyer says he won’t need the glasses because he’s choosing to watch it all at home.

“Well you won’t need the glasses if you’re watching on NASA.com because they’ll just run it through the filters that you need because you shouldn’t be looking right at the sun anyway.”

Jaclyn Borman tells NBC 4 she heard she could get them from the library so she’s hoping to pick some up and watch it.

There is a chance you can still get a pair. Twenty-three locations of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and eight metro parks who collaborated with COSI will give away solar eclipse glasses while hosting activities on August 21st.

COSI says they ordered thousands of protective glasses months ago before they sold out.

The glasses will be given away at the library and metro parks from 1-4 on the day of the solar eclipse but while supplies last.

Here is the schedule of events and how you can get a pair of glasses. 

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