How to safely watch an eclipse of the sun


It is never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays – even if the sun is partly obscured. When watching a partial eclipse you must wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun, or use an alternate indirect method. This also applies during a total eclipse up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked.

Solar filtered eclipse glasses — does the library have any left? 

In conjunction with our NASA@ My Library project, the library was given 1,000 safety-certified glasses from the Space Science Institute, funded by the Moore Foundation, to give out for the August 21 eclipse. Unfortunately, this was for all of St. Johns County and some libraries have run out.

Our eclipse glasses are distributed through our NASA@ My Library programs. To see if there’s a program with eclipse glasses distribution near you, visit our NASA@ My Library event page.

Certified glasses can still be purchased online through American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony or Thousand Oaks Optical.

How to tell if your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers are safe.

According to a recent press release, NASA recommends that people who plan to view the eclipse should check the safety authenticity of viewing glasses to ensure they meet basic proper safety viewing standards. The Astronomical Society of America (AAS) also has an excellent web page dedicated to this subject.

Below are some basic criteria that glasses or viewers should meet:

  • Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
  • Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
  • Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
  • Not use homemade filters
  • Ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers

As part of the NASA@ My Library project, the glasses distributed via the Moore Foundation grant meet and exceed NASA’s criteria and are completely safe.

With just a few simple supplies, you can make a pinhole camera that lets you watch a solar eclipse safely and easily from anywhere. 

Pinhole Camera Supplies


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has simple build instructions here.

Additionally, STAR_Net’s STEM Activity Clearinghouse includes three different ways to make a pinhole projector, including shoebox, cereal box, and shipping box versions.


Or you could stay inside and watch the Eclipse Live Stream at home, or with us at the library!

Source: NASA Eclipse 2017

Source: Space Science Institute

NASA: Eye Safety During a Total Solar Eclipse

JPL: How to Make a Pinhole Camera