Going, going, gone: Eclipse glasses are a rare commodity
Still looking for a pair of eclipse glasses? Get in line.
With less than a week away from the eclipse, people are scrambling for find pairs for themselves and others. Local Walmart, Kroger, Home Depot and mom and pop hardware shops have all sold out of glasses as soon as they've restocked, and many might not receive another shipment in time for Monday save a few stores off the beaten path or ones that have kept their stock relatively secret.
There is hope for some, though. For example, Elders Ace Hardware at 4219 Chapman Highway said it expects to have a shipment of glasses by noon Thursday. It's first come, first served with a limit of six per person. Other Ace Hardware stores have said they are optimistic they'll be able to get at least one more shipment in before Monday, but you're going to have to do a lot of calling around to them and major retailers to find out if they're one of them.
Even Amazon has run out of approved glasses with little hope of getting restocked before Monday along with having to recall thousands of unapproved glasses, leaving people with few options to obtain a pair.
Tuesday morning at The Muse in Knoxville, hundreds formed a line outside its doors before it opened in hopes of getting one of 4,000 pairs of eclipse glasses it was handing out.
Within an hour, all 4,000 pairs had sold out. The same has been true for other mass sales and handouts around East Tennessee the last few days.
So what can you do if you're still in need of glasses, but are unlikely to find any between now and the eclipse? Short of hoping for a miracle where local retailers are able to stock tens of thousands of the glasses between now and Monday, you might have to settle for other viewing options if you are unable to track down a pair of glasses.
The good news is that you will still be able to watch the eclipse when it reaches totality (when the moon totally covers the sun) regardless of whether you have glasses of not. NASA and eye experts agree that it's safe to view the eclipse for the entirety of its total stage with the naked eye.
The partial eclipse (when the sun is not completely covered) makes up the vast majority of the eclipse viewing experience, though, and it's unsafe to look at the sun for any length of time without risking eye damage.
One way to view the partial eclipse is to create a projector. For an idea on how to create your own, the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco has simple instructions using cardboard and duct tape. These devices work well for any type of solar event, really, and are a simple and fun extra way to experience the eclipse alongside watching with eclipse glasses.
Alternatively, WBIR 10News will be streaming the eclipse live on Facebook which people can also go back and watch.
Whatever you do, please refrain from staring at the sun with unprotected eyes! People who've seen eclipses before and didn't wear proper protection have come forward with stories of how they became eclipse blind/impaired.