Monday, April 30, 2012

Solar Glasses for Sale!

This is what you can except to see from the
centerline of the solar eclipse on May 20th--as long
as you have proper eye protection!
As many of you already know, a rare and exciting astronomical event will be happening next month visible pretty much anywhere west of the Mississippi River: a solar eclipse.

Even more exciting, along the centerline, this will be an annular eclipse. An annular eclipse happens when the moon is far away from the earth in its elliptical orbit so it's a bit smaller than normal--too small to entirely cover the sun. Instead, you'll see a ring of fire completely encircling the sun.

Even if you aren't on this centerline, this will still be the best solar eclipse in this part of the world in decades. From Seattle to San Diego, you'll see a good 80% or more of the sun taken out by the moon.

But this is the sun we're talking about here, and you'll go blind if you try to watch the eclipse directly. No, to watch this rare alignment of the earth, sun, and moon, you need eye protection. You need eclipse glasses! Something that blocks 100% of the ultraviolet and infrared light and blocks 99.999% of visible light.

I'm planning an eclipse party for Northern California--please drop in if you're in the area! So I took the liberty of ordering a bunch of eclipse glasses. When I tried to order them, I was told these things are in hot demand for the upcoming eclipse and that they were back-ordered for weeks. Afraid they might not come in time for the grand event, I hedged my bets by ordering them from two different companies.

Order eclipse glasses which
block 99.999% of visible light
and 100% of ultraviolet and infrared
light to view the eclipse safely!
The first company shipped them out last week, and today I got the order from the second company, so now I have exactly double the number of eclipse glasses that I actually need for the event. The extras I've put on sale in the AQ Marketplace! I figure many of you who want to watch the eclipse but can't attend our little shindig are going to want these glasses as well. I'm selling them for $2 each, plus $1 for shipping (regardless of the number of glasses you order).

I've already set aside eclipse glasses for everyone who will be attending the event and you can buy them off me then. If you want to order them now, though, that's perfectly okay as well! You can look for sunspots until the "big day." =) It also means you can pay with PayPal. (I'll only be accepting cash at the event!)

You'll want to hang on to them after the solar eclipse--a couple of weeks after the solar eclipse is an even more rare and usual event: a Venus transit of the sun. This will be the last Venus transit until the year 2117--in all likelihood, an event that none of us will still be alive to witness. The transit will be visible from the entire United States, so if you want to witness this twice-in-a-lifetime event (the last one was 8 years ago). You'll need eye protection to watch Venus creep across the sun's surface the morning of June 5th. It won't be anything near as impressive as the annular eclipse two weeks earlier, but if you already have the glasses--check it out! You won't have another opportunity in this century!

This is a time-lapse photo of the 2004 Venus transit--a twice-in-a-lifetime
event happening on June 5th and the last Venus transit until 2117!


jackbear said...

Golly gee, I want ssshome of dem X-ray ssspecks. I jussst bought ssshome! ssshanks!

This accent is funny in my head anyway.


Marmalade said...

Thanks for going the double extra mile to protect our valuable eyesight. I'll pick mine up at the event. :)

Killer Newtz said...

I'm not seeing these in the AQ Store? Did they sell out already?

Anonymous said...

I am sure you plan to have extra at the event ~ I just added a guest that will be coming with me so will want at least 2 possibly 3 pairs.

Ryan said...

Yep, they already sold out. If you're attending the event, I've got you covered--but anyone else who wanted them will have to find some other source now. It's too late for me to order more in time for the eclipse. Sorry!

-- Ryan

Anonymous said...

Oh No! I live 2 blocks EAST of the Missisippi--does this mean I'll have to swim across the river to see the eclipse?