CHICAGO (CBS) — The highly anticipated solar eclips is little more than a week away.
On Aug. 21, the moon will pass between the earth and the sun, creating a total eclipse that can be seen in a band of locations across the mainland U. S., including Carbondale, Illinois. A partial eclipse will be visible just before noon here in Chicago. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has information on how to take it in safely.
We’ll shed some light on this subject.
“It’s been crazy,” said Patrick Meyer, American Science and Surplus. “Phones have been ringing off the hook.”
Sales of $2 protective solar viewing glasses have eclipsed just about everything else at American Science and Surplus.
“The last couple weeks have been insane,” Meyer said. “We just can’t keep them in stock.”
The waiting list for the protective lenses is two pages long.
“We get shipments in 600 to 800 pieces and they are in in two or three days,” he said.
In store and online they have sold 40,000 in the last six weeks.
“They are so dark I can’t even see you. Where are you? I mean seriously they are dark you cannot see,” said Theresa Wardzala, Northwest Side.
For eclipse watchers, they are capable of blocking 99.9 percent of the sun’s visible light. To guard against permanent retinal damage, only buy a pair marked “safe for direct solar viewing,” with an ISO marking and code you can check on NASA’s eclipse website.
RELATED: Official NASA Solar Eclipse Site
“If there are no markings in the glasses, the manufacturer is secondary and you don’t want to use those glasses,” Meyer said.
At the Adler Planetarium, guests can now receive a complimentary pair.
“We ordered something like 200,000” said Adler Planetarium Astronomer, Mark Hammergren.
They have been sharing them not only with visitors, but also schools and libraries, encouraging all to take in the rare event safely.
“Staring at the partially eclipsed sun is as bad an idea as staring at the full sun any other day,” Hammergren said.
Adler’s astronomers say here’s what the eclipse will look like with the glasses near Carbondale, one of the nation’s prime viewing spots. Closer to Chicago, the passage of the moon in front of the sun will create more of a crescent shape, but still a sight to behold.
“It’s a once in a lifetime,” Wardzala said. “You don’t get to see this all the time.”
Starting on Monday, the Chicago Public Library branches will be giving away free solar viewing glasses. And rush to American Science and Surplus. They just got in a shipment of 7,200. Between their three stores and online sales they expect to be out of them by Monday.