In case you haven’t noticed, we’re geeking out over the total solar eclipse that’s coming on August 21. Where you live will determine what you see, but here in Nashville, viewing will be at a premium with almost 3 minutes of darkness in the middle of the day. So, I’ve been checking into which solar eclipse glasses are right for my family. Because we like our retinas. Ha.
So, we found some great solar eclipse glasses in every price range, so you can watch safely with your kids too.
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When looking for safe glasses — not the knockoffs we’re hearing about — the first thing I did was check the ISO standards for eclipse glasses. If you don’t have any of these approved glasses on hand, you can still try to get free solar eclipse glasses from your local library, while supplies last, of course. To be safe, however, you should always cross check the standards with the glasses you plan on using just to be sure.
But if you want to buy paper glasses (fun souvenir!), we’ve got lots of options. For an affordable option if you need pairs for your whole family, get this inexpensive 10-pack of Bill Nye solar viewing glasses. Of course he’s got solar eclipse glasses!
I love these certified eclipse glasses that give back 50% of the purchase price to support St. Jude’s Hospital. Plus, your kids can color them in, giving them a little something to do while they wait all day for that 2 minutes of darkness.
Updated: Wow, these sold out quickly. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll make more.
For the next level protection, try these AstroSolar paper glasses from the Baader Planetarium in Germany (seen at top). They reduce the sun’s intensity by 99.999%. Plus, they give 100% UV and IR protection. That’s about the best you can do with disposable glasses. The 5-pack runs you closer to $20, so they’re a little more expensive, but they have a sci-fi look that might pique the interest of an otherwise uninterested teen.
If this eclipse trend has got you hooked, and you’re now planning to chase down the 2-3 partial eclipses that happen each year, you might want these non-disposable Solar Eclipse Spectacles. They’re also a good idea if you have a toddler who will likely pull off their paper glasses 17,931 times while you’re viewing the eclipse. And when the eclipse is over, your steampunk-loving teen can wear them on their head.
And if you’re planning to look through a camera, telescope or binoculars to view the eclipse, you will need a separate filter for those devices too, because using solar eclipse glasses behind them won’t protect your eyes. The lenses will magnify the sun’s intensity greater than what the solar glasses can handle. Instead, you need a solar filter for your lens.
Photo at top via Baader Planetarium.
Updated: A previous version of this post said that sports goggles and prescription glasses were approved for viewing. They are not. That information has been corrected as they are not safe. Here’s a helpful list of all the safe solar eclipse glasses.