UPDATE: The Orange County Library events are all at capacity. 

In case you stare at your shoes all day and never look up, there’s going to be an eclipse on Monday, August 21, and just so you know, sunglasses wont protect your eyes if you plan on watching the celestial event when it passes by.

To safely watch the eclipse, you need “eclipse glasses,” which have special lenses made of optical density 5 black polymer material, which filter out 100 percent of ultra-violet, infrared, and 99 percent of intense visible light which is created by an eclipse. They actually intensify the orange color in the sun.

While the Orlando Science Center and Orange County Library System will be dispensing limited numbers of free eclipse glasses at locations across the City the day of the event, they are not giving away anything leading up to it and are likely to run out the day of the eclipse.

Online stores are running out and Amazon had to pull a number of vendors that weren’t selling safe product. If you’re purchasing eclipse glasses online, be sure to look for a NASA stamp of approval so you know they provide enough protection.

In case you’re thinking of watching the eclipse through your phone, according to NASA, that may not be a great option. Pointing the camera on your phone at the sun over a long period of time (more than a few seconds) could hurt your camera’s electronics, specifically if you have a newer model which has a larger lens, meant for better resolution photographs.  The jury is still out on this though, so you should be fine with a quick snap. However:

“Using optical filters to photograph the eclipse when you are not on the path of totality is inherently risky because you are looking at the blindingly bright solar surface. NASA makes no recommendations about how to safely photograph the partial eclipse phases because of the huge number of optical filter and camera models that may potentially be used and often with unsafe outcomes.” – NASA

So we’re probably going to side with the rocket scientists on this one.

The best thing you can do is to use a darkening filter or your eclipse glasses over the camera lens to protect it while lining up your shot, but they say to be sure to remove the filter when you take your quick photo. Obviously use the low light level settings on your phone during the darkest phase of the eclipse.

You can also watch the eclipse using a pin hole projector, like how everyone did in 1979. But that’s basically like watching a blurry laser pointer without the payoff of making your cat go nuts.

Some people recommend watching through a series of reflecting mirrors, but this is still dangerous. So don’t do it. Plus, who has that many mirrors?

The safest and easiest way to watch a broadcast of the eclipse is on your television or laptop. But at least do it on a porch so you can get more immersed/connected with what’s happening above you.

Whatever you choose to do, we ask you to err on the side of safety, and have fun.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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