Safe solar glasses, approved for use when viewing an eclipse, are the hottest thing around these days. Stores like Huntsville's Star Market have been shipping cases in almost daily, only to see them go right back out the door.
We've been taking action for viewers to help them find solar glasses, but if you just can't get your hands on some before the big eclipse on Monday, August 21, there are other safe ways to view the rare event . Many involve everyday items you can find around the house, or at the nearest grocery store.
NASA'S jet propulsion laboratory developed an internet application called NASA's Eyes. It shows what the eclipse will look like form anywhere in the United States and well, it's pretty darn awesome.
If a digital experience isn't what you're after, consider one of the cheapest and easiest eclipse viewing tricks: the old pinhole.
Just take two pieces of paper or cardboard, make a pinhole in one, then put the other paper on the ground. Let the sun shine through the pinhole'd paper above. By looking down, you or your child can safely watch the phases of the eclipse as they unfold.
For a more dramatic effect, you can create a viewing-projection box or tube. These work by refocusing the sun's light into a dark space... to make the eclipse more pronounced.
Again, you're NOT using these to look directly at the sun, only at the projection!
If all else fails, look to the trees! Or rather, their shadows. Leaves can act as pinholes, leaving little crescents reflected on a wall or the ground.
The most important thing to remember though, is that if you don't have a safe eclipse viewing plan, don't take any unknown risks.
"Don't improvise," said Dr. Laura Danly, of Griffith Observatory. "If you don't know, don't chance it. It's not worth it. You really can damage your eyes."