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The sun is so bright, you gotta wear safe solar shades (for this weekend's annular eclipse)

A woman looking up into the sky uses her left hand to hold solar eclipse viewing glasses over her eyes.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
/
KUT
A person looks up at the partial eclipse of the sun in 2017 from downtown Austin.

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Now's the time to get proper glasses to view the annular eclipse Saturday and be prepared for the big one next spring.

This time around, the sun will be about 89% obscured from our view in Austin, so long as the weather works out. So far, forecasts are looking good.

But even if the viewing conditions are decent, under no circumstances should you attempt to look at the eclipse with your naked eyes. (Yes, that's intentionally bold.)

That means you’ll need your solar viewers to safely view the entirety of the eclipse, which is set to begin around 10:30 a.m. and end just after 1:30 p.m. The maximum eclipse — that’s when we’re expected to reach that 89% level — should come right before noon.

Just a note: There are no official NASA-endorsed eclipse-viewing glasses, but safe viewers must meet requirements for the International Organization of Standardization. To make sure your glasses are safe for looking up into the sky, go here.

Austin Public Library is out of glasses now, but if you live outside of the city, check in with your local library to see if it's participating in the Solar Eclipse Activities for Libraries program, which is handing out 5 million glasses across the country.

Another option for snagging a free pair would be to check in with the office of a state park that will be in the path of this week’s or April’s eclipse. Officials have been planning for months to accommodate people visiting Central Texas for the eclipses, and in some cases, they’ve secured glasses for people to safely look up.

If you’re unable to get free glasses, you should be able to find them at stores around the area. H-E-B, Home Depot and Lowe’s are carrying safe solar glasses, but again, you might want to call ahead to make sure they're in stock.

In Northwest Austin, you can get glasses at Terra Toys. In Wimberley, glasses can be purchased at Mail Stop, and in Dripping Springs you should be able to find some at Starrs on Mercer.

Jerry Quijano is the local All Things Considered anchor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at jerry@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @jerryquijano.
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