TAMPA (FOX 13) - With Eclipse Mania in full effect, the coveted eclipse-watching glasses are hard to come by three days before the once in a lifetime event.
FOX 13's Crystal Clark scoured the Bay Area to find the few places who still have glasses and sought out the alternatives some are turning to in case they don't snag a pair.
The alternatives for protecting your eyes while staring at the sun for a relatively long period of time must be weighed carefully. According to eye doctors, staring at the total eclipse of the sun without the proper eye protection can cause permanent damage to the eyes, even if someone stares for only a few seconds.
For a tutorial on making an eclipse viewer box using a few household supplies, visit www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/274548581-story.
Anyone lucky enough to have a welder's helmet may be able to use it to watch the solar eclipse Monday. One man we spoke to said he bought one from a pawn shop for $20.
According to NASA, welding goggles are safe if they have a shade level of at least 12.
Some places, like MOSI in Tampa, plan to host free eclipse watching parties Monday, where guests can catch a glimpse through telescopes fitted with solar filters, but you’ll have to take turns with others at the part. MOSI will also provide supplies to make your own viewing box.
St. Pete College says it will also have telescopes available.
But as for where to get your very own pair of glasses, the options are slim and you’ll want to plan ahead.
Free eclipse glasses available Monday, on a first come-first served basis, at the libraries listed below and, they warn, supplies are very limited. So get there early.
In Hillsborough County, the Palm River Library on 78th Street will give away glasses for its viewing party starting at 1 p.m. All ages are welcome and you do not need a library card.
Also in Hillsborough County, the North Tampa Library will give glasses to fourth and fifth-graders, and their caregivers, for its viewing party starting at 2:30 p.m.
For more details on both of these events, visit www.hcplc.org.
In Pinellas County, the Safety Harbor Library at 110 Veterans Memorial Lane will have glasses available from 2 to 3 p.m.
Also in Pinellas County, Seminole Community Library at 9200 113th St N, and the St. Pete Beach Public Library at 365 73rd Ave will host solar eclipse viewing parties and provide glasses to attendees on Monday.