AUSTIN (KXAN) — Central Texans will get front-row seats to some pretty spectacular phenomena in the coming months.
On Oct. 14, an annular solar eclipse will cross North, South and Central America. Later on April 8, 2024, the Texas Hill Country will be in a prime viewing area for a total solar eclipse, which is anticipated to bring in thousands of tourists and visitors to the region.
Total solar eclipses happen approximately every 18 months somewhere on the planet, leading visitors to the path of totality — a prime viewing spot where the eclipse is at its darkest for the longest period of time.
With the Texas Hill Country poised in the path of totality, many Central Texans will be itching to get a glimpse of the phenomenon right from their neck of the woods. But leading experts caution people to plan in advance to get their hands on a pair of solar eclipse glasses before they sell out.
The Farmers’ Almanac is selling certified solar eclipse glasses, with a limited number available for purchase. The Farmers’ Almanac said it anticipates the glasses will sell out, given the massive path of totality and extreme interest in the event.
How to tell if your solar eclipse glasses are legitimate
Solar eclipse glasses are CE and ISO certified, a critical designation that means the glasses are safe to use without fear of damaging your eyes, courtesy of dangerous ultraviolet and infrared rays.
Solar eclipse glasses are made with solar filters that adhere to a global safety standard, referred to as ISO 12312-2, per WebMD. Daily use sunglasses or homemade solar filters aren’t safe for viewing a solar eclipse, because “they transmit sunlight at a rate that is thousands of times too high.”
You should make sure your glasses are labeled with either the ISO 12312-2 or ISO 12312-2:2015 international safety standard, WebMD said. Because some false sellers can print a false ISO standard number on the side of faulty glasses, Solar Eclipse Across America stresses prospective buyers should only purchase glasses from these reputable manufacturers, importers and distributors.
What are solar eclipse glasses made of?
The specialty eclipse glasses comprise black polymer or silvery mylar that is capable of blocking 100% of infrared and ultraviolet light. These kinds of lenses only transmit approximately one-millionth of the sun’s visible light, WebMD added.
While wearing them, black polymer glasses will cause the sun to appear orange, while mylar glasses make it look almost bluish-white. Given the efficacy of these specialty glasses, they block out all light save for the sun — so users are cautioned to not walk around while wearing them.
How to make sure you’re safely using your solar eclipse glasses
Before using them, it’s advised to check for any scratches or damage to the lens. If you do see any signs of damage, you shouldn’t use them out of an abundance of precaution.
Before looking at a solar eclipse, you need to make sure your glasses are properly on. When it’s time to remove your glasses, look away from the sun first before taking them off.
“During the totality, the time when it gets dark becomes the sun is completely blocked out, you can take off your glasses and look at the eclipse,” WebMD wrote. “As soon as the sun begins to reappear, though, you need to put your glasses back on.”
Using a camera, binoculars or a telescope to look at a solar eclipse isn’t recommended, even while wearing solar eclipse glasses. That’s because these devices are designed to intensify the sun’s rays, which can lead to damages on both your eclipse glasses and eyes.