Where to get special glasses to view the Oct. 14 annular eclipse (Including one place offering them free!)

If you’re going to be watching the eclipse directly, you’ll need eclipse glasses.

SAN ANTONIO – If you’re going to be watching the annular eclipse this month, you’re going to need eclipse glasses.

On Oct. 14, the moon will pass in front of the sun, creating a halo or “ring of fire” in the sky.

The sun is never completely blocked by the Moon during an annular solar eclipse. Therefore it is never safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection designed for solar viewing. Even when 99% of the Sun’s surface is obscured, the remaining sun is still intense enough to cause retinal burn, experts say.

Regular sunglasses won’t work. You’ll need safe solar viewers that are thousands of times darker than sunglasses and they must comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

American Astronomical Society compliant eclipse glasses

Eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers should meet all the following criteria:

  • Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
  • Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
  • No scratched or wrinkled lenses
  • No homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones — because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun

NASA’s partner, the American Astronomical Society, has verified manufacturers that are making eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

Several stores are also selling certified solar viewers including Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart. Quicktrip stores in San Antonio are also selling glasses from The American Solar Eclipse Company that are made right here in San Antonio.

You can also buy the glasses online. Here is a list of manufacturers, importers and distributors provided by the AAS:

*Suppliers marked with an asterisk are either manufacturing or importing from outside the United States.

How to use eclipse glasses and solar viewers

Always inspect your glasses and solar filters before using them. If you find they’re scratched or damaged, don’t use them. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter and remember to always supervise children.

Put the glasses or solar viewer in front of your eyes BEFORE you look up at the sun and don’t take them off until you’ve looked away.

Also remember NOT to look at the sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and injure your eyes.

Where to get FREE eclipse glasses

There are some places in San Antonio offering free eclipse glasses — the public libraries!

The San Antonio Public Library is hosting a series of eclipse-related events. Glasses will be available at no cost for participants in those events on a first-come, first-served basis.

Find more information about the library’s eclipse events online.

When to view the eclipse in San Antonio

The annular solar eclipse will carve a path from Oregon to the Gulf of Mexico. Here in San Antonio, the partial eclipse will begin at 10:23 a.m. and end at 1:33 p.m. The peak of the event — the full annular eclipse will last for a little more than 4 minutes from 11:52 a.m. to 11:56 a.m.

When October’s astronomical event is over, you might want to hang onto your glasses. Parts of San Antonio and the Hill Country are in the path of another solar eclipse in April. That one will be a total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024!

The American Astronomical Society says modern eclipse glasses with the ISO 12312-2 designation do not expire as long as they have no punctures, scratches or tears, and the filters/lenses remain attached to the frames.

More eclipse stories on KSAT:

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.