With excitement building over the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, the first in almost 40 years, enthusiasts are finding solar viewing glasses are getting harder to find.
Several major retailers have sold out of the eye-protecting glasses in Connecticut, but 13 libraries statewide will offer them for free.
"It’s not just library patrons," said Nicole Cignoli, of Glastonbury Welles Turner Memorial Library, regarding the sparked interest from her community. "Everybody’s excited."
For Cignoli, preparations for Monday’s solar eclipse have been one year in the making. Last August, a NASA affiliate sent her and several other librarians nationwide information regarding a grant to help fund programs related to the eclipse.
On Tuesday, she and her team had about 120 pairs, but more than 200 people had already lined up as of 8 a.m. for the glasses.
Other libraries, like Rocky Hill’s, had close to 1,000.
In Glastonbury, science enthusiasts who hope to safely catch a glimpse of the rare phenomenon can pick up their free frames Monday at 10 a.m. on a first come, first served basis. From there, viewers can stick around for around for the library’s viewing party.
"It should be at 2:45 p.m. (for) 66 percent totality, so it won’t be a total eclipse but it’ll be fun just to see what happens," said Cignoli.
Another option is to get creative with welding supplies.
Kevin Slate from Maine Oxy said he’s received several inquiries from people asking if he has the shade 12 glass in stock.
"The shade part means the darkness of the filter plate," Slate said. "The lower the number, the easier it is to see through."
Shade 12 is the minimum shade NASA requires, which is so much darker than what Slate typically uses for welding that he hardly ever sells it. Whether in-store or through welding suppliers, the proper protectant typically costs less than two dollars.
The full list of libraries offering glasses is as follows: (Note: Several of these locations might be out of solar eclipse glasses at this point.)
- Kent Memorial Library, Suffield
- Goshen Public Library, Goshen
- Manchester Public Library, Manchester
- Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill
- New Milford Public Library, New Milford
- Prospect Public Library, Prospect
- Brainerd Public Library, Haddam
- Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield
- Huntington Branch Library, Shelton
- New Haven Free Public Library, New Haven
- Groton Public Library, Groton
- Stratford Library, Stratford
- Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield