History of Solar Eclipse Coverage, Plus Where to Find Glasses Last Minute

For some of us, viewing the August 21st total solar eclipse will literally be a once in a lifetime event. Prior to today, the last total solar eclipse (visible in North America) was in 1979 – thirty eight years ago.

Scientists are warning observers to not look at the eclipse directly. A report in The Washington Post featured two elderly men who regretted watching an eclipse that took place in 1979.

That was more than 50 years ago. Both men, now 70, say they wish they had known about the long-term harm that afternoon would do to their eyesight.

“We didn’t know right that second that we damaged our eyes,” Duvall said in a phone interview Sunday. “At that time, we thought we were invincible, as most teenagers do.”

Wow. That’s crazy, and dangerous. By staring directly at an eclipse, an extreme amount of light will strike your fovea, the part of the eye that helps discern color and detail. The resulting chemical process could do permanent damage to that part of the eye.

Experts aren’t kidding when they say staring directly at a solar eclipse can do long-term damage to your eyes.

Luckily, many businesses across America are selling certified glasses to help you look at the eclipse without harming your eyes. These glasses have sold out in recent days, but a select few stores may still have them.

If you’re still looking for a place to find glasses, the following stores may have some in stock:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Best Buy
  • Bi-Mart
  • Casey’s General Store
  • Hobby Town
  • Kirklands
  • Kroger
  • Lowe’s
  • Maverik
  • Pilot or Flying J
  • Walmart

And make sure your glasses have ISO certification. Here is another list of stores and distributors who are certified by the American Astronomical Society to sell glasses.

To give you a sense of what we’re likely to experience today, here is a great news report of the 1979 eclipse featuring Walter Cronkite, then the most trusted man in American news.

“May the shadow of the moon [in 2017] fall on a world at peace” Cronkite said. The world is a more peaceful place than it was in the seventies – but we certainly have a long way to go in that regard.

Today’s solar ellipse will be best visible from the spots visualized below:


Protect your eyes!


Will you be giving the eclipse a view today? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below. And if you do watch, make sure you do so with certified glasses!

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