Alternatives to Eclipse Glasses

This page last updated Thursday, August 17.  It is now too late to get the glasses, but I list a number of alternatives that will work better.

Quick Links:

In most areas, it is now too late to get eclipse glasses at a reasonable price.  Just like happened during a recent eclipse in England, the glasses are now unavailable in most places.  They might be available in some areas at a reasonable price.  But don’t pay more than a few dollars, because you don’t need them.  If you don’t have them, don’t worry.  You can actually get a better view using other methods.

Whatever you do, don’t spend hundreds of dollars trying to find a pair.  They’re nice to have, but they are not essential.  You do have alternatives.   First of all, if you are around other people watching the eclipse, you can probably just borrow theirs.   You’ll only look through the glasses for a minute or two at a time.  Several people can use the same pair.

If you don’t have glasses (or even if you do, and want a better view, you can use a method of indirect viewing.

You can make a simple pinhole viewer, and instructions are available at the NASA website.  Many other variations are available, and you can get a  good view of the sun projected on a screen.



Other projection methods provide a view that is better than the eclipse glasses.  One extremely simple method uses binoculars or a small telescope or monocular.  (Use cheap binoculars, since the sun might overheat and damage them. Even toy binoculars like the ones shown here should work just fine.)  You do not look through the binoculars.  Instead, you point one end at the sun, and the other end at a white screen, or even the wall of a building.  You will see a very detailed image of the sun on the screen.  It’s amazingly simple, and you will see a much better view than you would with eclipse glasses.  It is described at this website.

Also, remember that eclipse glasses can be shared.  It’s somewhat interesting to look at the crescent sun, but most people will only look for a few seconds, and then possibly look again later when it’s gotten smaller.  In the meantime, others can use them.  If you are traveling to some kind of viewing event, it’s likely that other people will let you borrow their glasses.


Buying Online

Glasses are no longer available.  This page has been continually updated.  All of the websites listed below had glasses at a reasonable price.  As each one ran out, I removed the listing, and now it’s too late.

The following suppliers were previously listed here, but are now sold out:  American Paper Optics and  Rainbow Symphony.  The website remains an excellent source of information about the eclipse.  At this point, I do not recommend ordering from  Amazon, eBay, or other similar sites.  You will pay too much, they might not arrive in time, and the product might not be safe.

Local Retailers in Minnesota and Other Areas

Glasses are no longer available.  This page has been continually updated.  All of the stores listed below had glasses at a reasonable price.  As each one ran out, I removed the listing, and now it’s too late.  In some parts of the country, the situation might be different, and you might want to check some of these stores in your area.  In many cases, the link is to the particular set of glasses sold by that store.

The following retailers had glasses, but are now almost certainly sold out:  New York:  B&H Photo and Video.  Minnesota:  Radio City in Mounds View , Toys R Us,  Lowe’s, Walmart, AxMan SurplusGirl Scout Shop in St. PaulBest Buy .

Some public libraries were giving the glasses away free.  They are probably gone by now, but they might have some available at special viewing events.



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