No viewing glasses? No problem

Warnings abound on the need for protective viewing glasses if you want to view the solar eclipse, but the new issue is availability.

A quick check at Columbus retailers shows the glasses have been sold out for a week or more, with dozens bought up by area schools who are planning on distributing them to their students Monday.

If you can’t find a pair of glasses by Monday, you can still view the eclipse indirectly.

One of the most common ways is to make a simple device called a pinhole viewer, which can be made with a piece of paper and an empty cereal box. Directions from NASA are available at eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/EclipseCerealBoxViewer.pdf.

Or, punch a small hole in a card, and with the sun at your back, project the sun through the hole onto a second card, the wall or even the ground. The projection will show little crescents that look the same as the phase of the eclipse.

There are also ways to view the eclipse indirectly without any equipment. Trees can be great pinhole projectors, according to NASA. Find a nice leafy tree and look under it during the eclipse, NASA says. Crescent suns will appear on the ground in the shadow of the tree where the light comes through the leaves.

If all else fails, NASA is coming to the rescue of people who want to watch the eclipse.

The federal agency’s NASA Television will livestream the solar eclipse in a four-hour show, Eclipse Across America, with live video of the celestial event, along with coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals and museums across the nation, and on social media.

Beginning at noon Monday, go to nasa.gov/eclipselive where you will be directed by default to the NASA TV broadcast. The broadcast will connect with many of the NASA broadcasts distributed across the country.

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.