Anyone who waited just a little too long to buy their eclipse glasses is now likely finding that many places are sold out. But don't give up hope — and don't resort to buying fake eclipse glasses.
Watching the Aug. 21 solar eclipse directly without proper eye protection is not an option, as it can cause temporary or permanent damage to your vision. It can also be dangerous to wear eclipse glasses that have not met safety standards, which require the glasses to block 99.99% of the sun's rays. You can still find a few recommended vendors offering glasses for sale online, though prices have gone up substantially. The American Astronomical Society has some advice to get a deal while also protecting your eyes:
The AAS has a list of recommended eclipse glasses vendors, which spokesperson Rick Fienberg says is growing as more companies provide verification that the glasses they're selling are legit. Out of the ones currently listed on the AAS's website, just two still have products in stock as of Tuesday afternoon. American Paper Optics is selling glasses in bundles of 25 for $4 each, meaning you'll have to drop at least $100. The company was previously offering sets of 50 for $1.25 each.
Lunt Solar Systems also has stock available on Amazon, in packs of at least 5 for $7.99 each. The website notes that new pricing went into effect Aug. 1.
"People can click on links from our website to see if they're still shipping, but a lot of them are closing down their shops for the eclipse. Some places aren't shipping whether they have stock or not because they can't guarantee it'll get there in time," Fienberg said.
The AAS has a list of retailers that are selling eclipse glasses from verified vendors. Not all of the retail locations may carry eclipse glasses or may have them in stock, so Fienberg recommends calling the nearest store to avoid making an unnecessary trip. AAS's website lists 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Bi-Mart, Casey's General Store, Circle K, Hobby Town, Kirklands, Kroger, London Drugs, Love's Travel Shops, Lowe's, Pilot/Flying J, Toys "R" Us and Walmart. The AAS notes that it's important to purchase eclipse glasses from the physical stores themselves rather than through the websites, because some companies offer different products online that may not be vetted by AAS.
Walmart spokesperson Meggan Kring said that eclipse glasses cost just $1 at any location that still has them in stock. Walmart is also selling "Get Eclipsed" guidebooks that include eclipse glasses for $3.47.
Since it's not safe to look at the eclipse without protecting your eyes, the AAS has also provided alternative ways to view the eclipse.
Fienberg notes that finding a tree with sunlight shining through the leaves will project an image of the sun, and the eclipse, on the ground. Looking at the ground while holding up a colander can have the same effect.
Another option is to catch one of the many live streams of the eclipse. This can be particularly useful for anyone who isn't in the path of totality.