MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Unless you're really out of the loop, you know we're right on the brink of a solar eclipse, and parts of South Carolina will be in totality.
If this is the first you're hearing of the eclipse, you should know you'll need special glasses in order to view it safely. While the moon will be covering the sun, parts of the sun will still be exposed, and you risk irreversible eye damage if you don't protect yourself on August 21.
Myrtle Beach will experience 99% totality – meaning 99% of the sun will be covered by the moon. Even 99% totality is not enough to view the eclipse without protection.
WMBF News partnered with WonderWorks and Duplicates Ink to provide 5,000 NASA approved solar eclipse viewing glasses, and unfortunately, they're all gone. 1,000 glasses stayed at the WMBF studio and were gone in one day.
The other 4,000 pairs went to WonderWorks at Broadway at the Beach, and they were gone by Monday afternoon.
But don't fret. There are other alternatives.
- Welding masks- According to NASA’s website, sun filters like eclipse glasses "have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver deposited on their surfaces that attenuates ultraviolet, visible, and infrared energy,” making it safe to look directly at the sun. Number 14 welder’s glass has similar properties.
- Pinhole cameras – This DIY might not be fancy, but it will protect your eyes. Watch the step-by-step guide from Meteorologist Marla Branson on how to make a pinhole viewer in the App Extras section of the WMBF News app. ANDROID Download here: https://buff.ly/2wJTh2O APPLE Download here: https://buff.ly/2wK5e8O. Marla says she prefers pinhole cameras for children to view the eclipse, as it requires the child to keep their back to the sun, preventing accidental direct exposure.
The Georgetown Police Department has a limited supply of glasses available which they will be distributing starting August 17. They limit 4 per household. You can give them a call at 843-545-4300 to check on their supply.
You can also call your local library to see if they're offering solar eclipse glasses. Georgetown and Waccamaw Libraries announced Monday they do still have some available.
Some general stores like Walmart and Target have glasses for sale, but we recommend calling ahead before you make the trip.
There are also several boat cruises that offer glasses with purchased tickets, like the Harborview Charter which leaves from the Charleston Harbor.
Items that are not safe to use to view the eclipse:
- The naked eye
- Solar glasses that are not NASA approved
- Telescopes without approved filters
- Binoculars without approved filters
- Cameras without approved filters
For a list of approved vendors of eclipse glasses, click here.