Round Rock Library

RRPL shares eclipse safety glasses beginning mid-March

Central Texans have the rare opportunity to see a total solar eclipse during the afternoon of Monday, April 8.

Round Rock Public Library received a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Space Science Institute, and the NASA Science Mission Directorate to do educational programming and to distribute 2000 pairs of solar safety glasses.

When will the library hand out glasses?

Beginning Monday, March 11, you may ask for a pair of glasses when you visit the 2nd or 3rd floor service desks, while supplies last.

Attendees at RRPL’s educational programs related to the eclipse may also be offered a pair of glasses, one per family, while supplies last.

    How many glasses can I get? 

    Note: If you received one of the 2500 pairs we distributed before the annular eclipse in the fall, please use those for this eclipse, so even more members of our community have access to glasses. Here’s information to make sure those glasses are still safe.

    You may have one pair per family, while supplies last.

    There will be high demand for these items, and we want to be sure the glasses we share benefit the largest possible number of people.

    You may discover that you don’t need a pair of glasses for each person in your group because:

    • Eclipses unfold slowly, over the course of several hours;
    • This eclipse occurs midday, when the sun is very high in the sky, so you may find it uncomfortable to keep your face turned toward the sun look up at the sun more than a few minutes at a time;
    • During totality, which is the breathtaking part of the eclipse, you don’t want to wear glasses so that you’re able to see stars, planets, wildlife, and the sun’s atmosphere (corona).

    Taking turns with a single pair of glasses feels easy and natural.

    What if I want more glasses?

    If you want more glasses, you are welcome to purchase additional glasses from reputable sources.

    Online and local retailers will have solar safety glasses available. Look for glasses labeled ISO 12312-2 or ISO 12312-2:2015.

    During the 2017 eclipse, some vendors on Amazon put the ISO 12312-2 logo on glasses that had not been certified. Be careful and do not risk your eyesight. Here are tips for purchasing safety glasses.

    The American Astronomical Society has even more details about assuring you have a safe solar filter.

    I got a pair of solar safety glasses for a previous eclipse. Can I reuse them?


    Thanks to a different grant, RRPL distributed 2500 glasses before the annular eclipse last October. We distributed them with protective cases and instructions for keeping them safe, in the hopes that all of those glasses would be available for use this eclipse.

    Or maybe you own a pair of glasses from the 2017 eclipse. Here’s information to make sure those glasses are still safe.

    1. If the filters are torn, scratched or punctured discard them. You can cover small defects with a bit of duct tape, as long as no light can get through.
    2. If the filters are coming loose from the cardboard or plastic frames, discard them.
    3. If the filters are more than 3 years old and are not made to the standards adopted in 2015 (ISO 12312-2:2015), you should discard them. If the filters are less than 3 years old but don’t meet the 2015 standards, avoid staring directly at the sun for more than 3 minutes at a time.
    4. If you glance at the sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus, and/or surrounded by a bright haze, do not use it. The sun should appear comfortably bright, like a full moon. You should not be able to see anything through the filter other than a bright light.

    NASA has a video guide about confirming the safety of any eclipse glasses you may have.

    Do I need special glasses for the eclipse?   

    There are many ways to view the eclipse without looking directly at the sun. 

    We’ve pulled together more general information about the eclipse and safe viewing practices.

    Whatever strategies you choose, remember that you can cause permanent damage to your eyes if you look at the sun unless:

    • you are within the path of the total eclipse, and
    • you look at any time other than the brief minutes of totality.
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