EDITOR’S NOTE: With nine days until the solar eclipse, we’re getting questions about where to get viewing glasses, and West Seattle’s best-known sky-watcher has put together a list. Watch for more pre-eclipse coverage here tomorrow and beyond, too.
By Alice Enevoldsen
Special to West Seattle Blog
I will tell you where you can get safe eclipse glasses after two short paragraphs of safety information; my conscience won’t let me skip the safety warnings.
You absolutely need special equipment to see this event safely.
Eclipse glasses are also called solar-observing glasses and they are not related to sunglasses. There are only a handful of companies that make glasses that meet the current international standard of safety.
To use glasses safely:
*Check that they are marked compliant with the safety standard ISO 12312-2:2015
*Check that the lenses are flat and free from scratches, punctures, or damage. Discard them if there are problems.
*Stand still, looking away from the Sun.
*Put on the glasses.
*Look toward the Sun.
*If the Sun looks bright, or your eyes get tired from the glare, then the filter is letting too much light though. Look away and use a different filter.
“West” Seattle Sources for Eclipse Glasses
I’ve included some farther than West Seattle because everywhere has limited supplies. Most of these locations have the glasses behind the main counter.
Seattle Public Library Branches — FREE!
All the branches of the Seattle Public Library are participating in the Space Science Institute’s STAR_Net Initiative with support from NASA, Google, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. You can pick up one pair per family while supplies last.
(UPDATE: Since we published this – we’ve been told Seattle Public Library branches are OUT. So scroll down to the other suggestions. Ken @ High Point Library says that branch’s eclipse-viewing gathering 8:30-11:30 am on the 21st will have glasses to share. ALSO – see comments below this story for additional locations reported by readers.)
High Point Branch
3411 SW Raymond
5423 Delridge Way SW
South Park Branch
8604 8th Ave. S.
West Seattle (Admiral) Branch
2306 42nd SW
9010 35th SW
South Seattle College Bookstore — $3-$4
6000 16th Ave SW, at Jerry Brockey Center (not the Library!)
See website for hours
Museum of Flight Store — $5-$6 (with map)
9404 E. Marginal Way South
Cloud Break Optics — $10 for 5 (in Ballard)
2821 NW Market Street, STE G
Cloud Break Optics is locally-owned, and also has all options for safely viewing the eclipse including eclipse binoculars, solar scopes, and solar filters for telescopes.
Pacific Science Center Store
200 2nd Ave N
All 7-Elevens received solar viewing glasses, but I have yet to find a local 7-Eleven store that is not sold out.
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific still has stock as of publication.
Lunt Solar Systems also still has stock, and they have a smaller size available as well.
The American Astronomical Society lists many other sources, but does not track availability.
NASA Eclipse 2017
Interactive Google Map #1*
Interactive Google Map #2 (works better on phones than #1)
American Astronomical Society Eclipse 2017
Stellarium: free planetarium software for your home computer, or Android device. Bring up the sky for anywhere in the world, any time and date in history or the future.
Clear Sky Chart: the astronomer’s forecast for the next couple days. Cloudcover, darkness, and “seeing” which is how nice it is to view the stars, all on one handy chart.
USNO: dates and times of astronomical happenings.
International Dark Sky Association: how to help your neighbors enjoy the night sky.
Who is Alice?
Although she is an astronomy instructor for South Seattle College and a volunteer with NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors program, the suggestions and opinions put forth in this article are Alice’s own and not those of any of those organizations. You can find more about astronomy from Alice at alicesastroinfo.com or on Twitter as @AlicesAstroInfo and Facebook