Need solar eclipse glasses -- where to buy???
May 15, 2012 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Where can I buy glasses or such things to view the annular eclipse on Sunday -- at the last minute, for a reasonable price?

I think I waited too long to order eclipse view glasses/shields. I found some on Amazon and they shipped Prime, but apparently since it's not directly fulfilled by Amazon themselves it won't get here until Monday.

Where can I get two pairs of eclipse glasses or other such devices to directly view the eclipse, for a reasonable price, and be assured that they'll be in my hands by Sunday?

I've heard that #14 welder shields can be used as well but that the eclipse will look green (not orange) when viewed through them. If this is my only option, where can I find this type of stuff and how much should I expect to pay?

I'm in Santa Rosa, CA and I do NOT have time to drive to San Francisco between now and Sunday. I need to find something online with 2-day shipping that's cheap OR somewhere local to buy.

posted by buckaroo_benzai to Science & Nature (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Take a needle and punch a hole in a 3x5 index card, then project that onto a sheet of paper.

I was in San Diego during a partial eclipse and found that sitting under a tree revealed the eclipse in the shadows of the leaves. And a Ritz cracker also worked as a lens. Not a direct view, but really cool nonetheless.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:06 PM on May 15, 2012

I came in here to make Johnny Wallflower's suggestion, first time I observed a solar eclipse we thought it was going to be overcast. We were having lunch, noticed it was sunny but dim, so we poked a hole in a napkin with a fork and went outside.

I also figured I'd add: Have you called Shutterbug Camera yet? I'm in Petaluma, and they'd be my first call. They'd at least have solar filters.

For welding supply stuff, I'd start by calling Airgas, Aeris, or Wine Country gases and see which one's closest to you. I've found that shops that cater to the trade are usually very happy to help someone who's looking for ways to repurpose their toys. If you're down near Rohnert Park I'd just go to Complete Welders Supply and assume they have it.

And I am shocked that Robert Ferguson Observatory isn't doing a solar viewing day on Sunday. Dang.
posted by straw at 4:20 PM on May 15, 2012

There are lots of welding supply places in Santa Rosa. One can get gold welding lenses which have a more neutral colour look. The 2x4 lenses are about $10; a little more for a set of goggles to fit them in.
posted by Mitheral at 4:24 PM on May 15, 2012

I can't help you with a local hookup from personal experience (if you can't make it to SF, you can't make it to my neck of the woods or I could probably help. Not sure if even I could mail them to you in time at this point.) and I couldn't find shit for "place that sells close to you or ships really fast and doesn't require you to buy 25 pairs", but this link talks about how to possibly make or get ahold of your own or at least come up with some other method of viewing. Also this one.

You can try doing searches for telescope stores around your area (I didn't see anything for Santa Rosa proper though, just some place that does birdwatching) to ask, or also do searches for "santa rosa astronomy." Perhaps folks who are involved in astronomy the rest of the year might have a secret hookup? (I got mine from the local geology club at the college.) This website doesn't say, but you could try asking. Or you could try the junior college astronomy program.

Good luck.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:29 PM on May 15, 2012

Do you have a pair of binoculars? If you don't have a tripod adapter, rig up some other way to point them so they project an image onto a sheet of white paper on the ground. I did this during the '93 annular eclipse and a crowd of people from work were able to gather around to watch a very crisp image about 6" in diameter.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:33 PM on May 15, 2012

Take a needle and punch a hole in a 3x5 index card, then project that onto a sheet of paper.

That or just walk under some trees. I kid you not, if you look down where sunlight normally filters through the leaves, you'll see hundreds of crescents.
posted by valkyryn at 6:26 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Get thee to the aforementioned welding supply shop.
posted by azpenguin at 6:34 PM on May 15, 2012

#14 welder's glass will work according to Eye Safety During Solar Eclipses by Fred Espenak, adapted from NASA RP 1383 Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 February 26, April 1996, p. 17.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:55 PM on May 15, 2012

Thanks everyone! Based on your suggestions I'm sure I'll figure something out.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 8:19 AM on May 16, 2012

I'm going to second valkyryn's suggestion of using a tree. I remember looking at hundreds of little crescents under a tree during an eclipse in the 1980s. It was awesome!

You might want to call indie toy stores in your area. this seems like something they might carry.
posted by vespabelle at 11:34 AM on May 16, 2012

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