Chances are you know by now that there will be a total solar eclipse on Monday. It's all the rage. It will be first time such an eclipse will be visible across the entire contiguous U.S. since June 8, 1918 and the first time one has been visible from anywhere in the U.S. since Feb. 26, 1979. It's been a while.
If you plan to view the solar eclipse but don't yet have legitimate eclipse glasses for it (there are many people selling fake ones), you'll be hard-pressed to find any by before Monday's event as many stores are sold out.
At least one Fastenal store is providing locals with another option.
Per WWAY 3's news report below, the company's branch in Wilmington, NC is selling welding goggles that have a glass filter lens that meet NASA standards for eclipse viewing. The filter is a shade 13, and as of Thursday night, the store is ordering more of the goggles for anyone who wants to view the eclipse.
NASA, meteorologists and essentially anyone with knowledge of astronomy strongly advises to not watch the eclipse without approved eclipse glasses, as staring at the sun during the event for even a few seconds can cause permanent eye damage.
The report says the goggles are flying off the shelves at the Wilmington branch, faster than it can stock them.
If you plan to watch the eclipse and do have approved glasses/goggles for it, you'll be in for quite an event, especially if you are in the 70-mile-wide path of totality — the bull's-eye center of the moon's shadow where 100 percent of the sun will be blocked. Anyone in the U.S. outside the path of totality will see a partial eclipse, while those in the path will see a complete blackout of the sun — for more than 2 and a half minutes in some locations — during which stars will be viewable during daytime.
The eclipse will begin on the Oregon coast as a partial eclipse at 9:06 a.m. PDT on Monday morning, and will end later that day as a partial eclipse along the South Carolina coast at about 4:06 p.m. EDT. The path of totality spans about 70 miles in width across that stretch.
Due to the droves of people flocking to or near the path of totality, logistical issues are expected, especially in smaller communities that aren't used to an influx of traffic.
You'll want to catch this eclipse, as the next total solar eclipse in the U.S. isn't until April 2024 (viewable in 12 states) and then August 2045 (10 states).
On a side note: my wife, my dog and I will be making the 7-hour drive from Madison, WI down to the southern tip of Illinois on Saturday to a campground where we will view the eclipse with a group of Wisconsin astronomers. We got our glasses back in March. Wish us luck!