In anticipation of the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, the 21st of August, much to-do can be found everywhere with regards to protecting one’s eyes during the event, no matter where a person views the celestial extravaganza.
At my particular vantage point in the Philadelphia area, the eclipse will appear only partially; although, I’ll be happy to watch the rare occurrence regardless.
I had seen a total eclipse once before in March 1970, looking at the phenomenon through my arc-welding helmet.
The path for ultimate viewing of the forthcoming, total blackout of the sun by the moon follows a marginal course roughly 70 miles/112.6 kilometers wide, running diagonally across the U. S. from Oregon to South Carolina.
As seen in the illustration above, roughly three quarters of the sun’s surface will be covered by the moon in my region.
To prepare for this, I scoured Amazon.com to find a suitable pair of solar-eclipse glasses. Most of the ones available reminded me of those 3-D spectacles worn in movie theaters back in the fifties.
They’ve always looked silly to me. Never tried them at a 3-D movie, but wore them while reading 3-D comic books. They were quite the craze when I was a tyke.
NASA and the American Astronomical Society advise to use solar-eclipse glasses or other solar filters from recommended manufacturers.
Viewing the sun or an eclipse while using any other glasses or filters could result in loss of vision or permanent blindness.
Another warning was to look for this specification marked on the glasses: ISO 12312-2, the international safety standard for filters used to directly view the Sun’s bright face.
Finally, after searching through several pages of solar glasses, in which a good portion of them had been sold-out already, I found the perfect pair:
Solar Eclipse Spectacles – Shade 14 Goggles CE Certified Safe Sun Viewing, Adjustable One Size Fits All, Better Than Glasses! Solar Filter and Viewer (Black) ISO 12312-2 Compliant.
Essentially they’re welding glasses that cover the eyes completely, blocking out any light from coming in around the sides, top and bottom; and they look cool too.
Having ordered them and waiting for the goggles to ship, hoping they’d arrive in time, I logged onto Amazon to check the status of the item, and found it was no longer available on their site; but the order was still listed in my account profile.
Disturbed by this, I sent the third-party shipper an e-mail:
Something is fishy regarding these spectacles. I noticed the page that lists this item is missing from Amazon, and my order has been “being prepared for shipment” for the past three days. Am I going to receive this order during the expected range stated? Thanks in advance for your response.
They sent me a prompt reply:
Just arranged the package for you.
I think you will receive it next Monday.
I’m always leery when someone says, “I think,” but answered back to say thanks, and that a shipment confirmation from Amazon with a tracking number from USPS arrived shortly after they notified me.
“So everything seems to be hunky-dory. Thanks for your help,” ended my response.
Two days later, after noting it hadn’t shipped yet, I fired another inquiring e-mail into cyberspace, aimed at the vendor’s inbox:
According to the tracking info, USPS hasn’t received the parcel and only a label has been created. I hope it’s going out today. What’s the holdup? Are you out of stock?
I think it will go out today.
That was on Friday, the 11th, and there was the “I think” again.
Meanwhile on Twitter, what started out with my bragging about the new spectacles, turned into a tremendous tirade:
The last entry in my timeline above was at 2:58 a.m. on Saturday morning. Later at 9:31 a.m., I received notification from Amazon, telling me they hadn’t received confirmation from the supplier of my order for the spectacles, documenting if they had sourced the item from a recommended manufacturer that complied with ISO 12312-2.
“We suggest that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse,” the e-mail read. “Amazon is applying a balance for the purchase price to Your Account (please allow 7-10 days for this to appear on Your Account). There is no need for you to return the product.”
Dagnabbit, I thought. Now I’ve got to get another pair for the eclipse. Walmart and 7-11 were a couple of recommended vendors of compliant solar glasses, so I visited two of each, who were all sold-out, until finding a pair at a third 7-11 in Croydon, Pa.
Not too bad-looking, at least the pair will protect my vision. I had also ordered a solar filter for my 500mm lens on the camera from a recommended vendor for the occasion too. That arrived in a few days after my placing the order.
If worse came to worst, I would be able to watch the eclipse through the camera, with which I plan to take a boatload of photos anyway. I practiced using the filter yesterday.
Figures after I was all set up, the clouds rolled in, and the sky became completely overcast. Just my luck, but I was able to see the filter is going to work fine:
The spectacles arrived on Monday the 14th after all. I had to needle Amazon Help on Twitter once more:
To make a long story short, pardon the cliché, the weather report for Monday’s solar eclipse in Philadelphia calls for rain. I called it, didn’t I? Can’t say the forecast is a self-fulfilling prophesy, albeit; but that goes to show you, nothing is easy anymore!
Might have to take a trip to Asheville, NC, where it’s supposed to be partly cloudy on Monday, or wait until April 8, 2024 for the next total eclipse to occur close-by to me in the U. S., which will pass through Western Pennsylvania, Upper New York State, Southeastern Québec through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Maritimes:
Hope to see it.
Thanks for your continued support and stopping by to allow me yet another diatribe for something I can’t control and irks the hell out of me.
Instead of placing my latest cover here, I felt this was more apropos: