I remember the first – and perhaps only – eclipse I ever saw. It happened in August 1979, when I was on fifth grade. I remember getting out of the classroom to look at the sun – despite warnings that we shouldn’t. Somehow I managed not to blind myself (though I developed myopia not too long after that, hmmm….). Since then I have been more responsible and have not looked directly into the sun – until yesterday, that is. You see, Mike mentioned a few weeks ago that the kids and him had gone to some science event in which they had glasses they could use to safely look at the sun. I looked them up and found out that they are super cheap (though only sold in bulk) so I decided to get him a set for Christmas.
The glasses are quite simple, they are made of paper with black polymer lenses which filter all of the harmful ultraviolet and infrared light, as well as practically all the ambient light. Put them on and look anywhere but at the sun, and you’ll see pitch black. Then sun, however, looks like a perfect orange circle. When I looked yesterday I couldn’t see any sun spots, but now that we have the glasses I can look often until I see them 🙂
These glasses are going to be perfect for the annular solar eclipse that will take place on May 20th this year. It won’t hit the Bay Area, but the 20th conveniently falls on a Sunday making a trip up north (Redding is near the center path for the eclipse) easy enough. As if that wasn’t enough, on June 5th Venus will be transiting between the earth and the sun! It’ll be the last time that this happens while we are alive, so I’m sure it’ll be worth seeing it.
I got the glasses at the Rainbow Symphony Store. They are usually 85-cents each, plus very reasonable shipping, with a minimum purchase of 25. But if you don’t care what the frames say (which I didn’t), you can buy them for 40-cents each with a minimum purchase of 50. With shipping, this came out to less than $25. The store’s website is very simple – very 1990’s – but I liked the vibe of it, and the glasses came very quickly.