The total solar eclipse is just around the corner and will be visible in much of southern Illinois and in the St. Louis area. To view the eclipse safely, you’ll need special solar eclipse glasses or other devices that allow you to look at the sun.
Looking at the sun without protection can cause permanent eye damage and even blindness, according to the University of California.
Before you buy or use eclipse glasses, make sure they are ISO 12312-2 certified. While you can look at the eclipse when the moon fully covers the sun, glasses should be worn during the partial phases. Sunglasses are not dark enough to use to look at the sun. Some welding glasses are appropriate, but make sure they meet ISO 12312-2 certification.
Reputable online retailers approved by NASA include American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17. Order your glasses soon enough to ensure delivery by Aug. 21.
Here’s where you can find certified solar eclipse glasses in the metro-east:
▪ Advanced Vision Care of Belleville (3540 North Belt West, Ste. C, Belleville, IL 62226; 618-235-4433) — Price varies. Limited supply. Call for details.
▪ Helfrich Family Eye Care (3030 Frank Scott Parkway West #1, Belleville, IL 62223; 618-744-7555) — One free pair with an eye exam. Not for purchase.
▪ Lowe’s — $2 for paper glasses and $15 for plastic glasses. Fairview Heights location is sold out, but will restock Monday, Aug. 21. Call other stores for details.
▪ Dean’s Liquor (210 W. Main St., Collinsville, IL 62234; 618-344-4930) — Out of stock Thursday morning, but should be re-stocked Thursday afternoon. $3.99 each.
St. Louis area
▪ Saint Louis County Parks — $1 each at Greensfelder Recreation Complex in Queeny Park, Affton Community Center, The Pavilion at Lemay in Jefferson Barracks Park, and Kennedy Recreation Complex near Suson Park.
▪ Saint Louis Science Center Planetarium Gift Shop (5050 Oakland Ave. St. Louis, MO 63110; 314-289-4466) — $10.99 for two glasses and a book or $1.99 each plus tax. Call to verify supply before going.
▪ Events at St. Louis public libraries including Grants View, Cliff Cave, Weber Road, Oak Bend branches and library headquarters. Call individual libraries for details.
▪ Collinsville Public Library (408 West Main St., Collinsville, IL 62234; 618-344-1112) — Eclipse viewing party from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 21. Free eclipse glasses available.
▪ Fairview Heights Public Library (10017 Bunkum Rd., Fairview Heights, IL; 618-489-2070) — Giving away one pair person to Fairview Heights residents only starting Aug. 1.
▪ Fairmont City Public Library (4444 Collinsville Rd, Fairmont City, IL 62201; 618-482-3966) — One pair per person free at eclipse program at noon Aug. 21.
▪ Glen Carbon Centennial Library District (198 S. Main St., Glen Carbon, IL 62034; 618-288-1212) — One pair per person free at eclipse program at 10 a.m. July 29. Registration required. Another eclipse program will take place at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14.
▪ Hayner Public Library in Alton (326 Belle Street, Alton, IL; 618-462-0677) — One pair per person free at eclipse program at 11 a.m. Aug. 21.
▪ Highland Public Library (1001 9th St, Highland, IL 62249; 618-654-5066) — One pair per person free at “Eclipse Awareness” program from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 10 in the auditorium.
▪ Southern Illinois University Edwardsville — On Aug. 21, glasses will be available at viewing locations including Ralph Korte Stadium (public viewing), Meridian Ballroom (SIUE students, faculty and staff only) and Builders of University Plaza (SIUE students, faculty and staff only).
▪ Waterloo will host an eclipse viewing party called “Solarbration” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Monroe County Fairgrounds. Free eclipse glasses available along with live music, food and an artisan fair.
If you know of other locations offering eclipse glasses not listed here, call the Belleville News-Democrat newsroom at 618-239-2110.