The procrastinator's guide to viewing the solar eclipse

This is not a drill. The eclipse is tomorrow. I repeat, the total solar eclipse is tomorrow

Yes, the celestial event of the year/decade/century, depending who you ask, is finally here. Many (organized) people planned their eclipse day a year ago, or longer. 

But if you're not one of them, don't worry — we've got you covered.

Here's what you need:

Real (not fake) eclipse glasses

This cannot be stressed enough. Staring at the sun can blind you — it's even called "eclipse blindness." In order to view the eclipse, you need eclipse glasses, which have a special solar filter to protect your eyes. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous characters make counterfeits, but spotting the fakes is easy. Only 12 companies make eclipse glasses that the American Astronomical Society and NASA have certified are safe. Make sure the “ISO” (International Organization for Standardization) icon is on any eclipse glasses you buy. The glasses also must have the ISO reference number 12312-2. 

If you don't have glasses yet, go here (maybe)

You snooze, you lose, folks. Stores across the country began running out of eclipse glasses last week, so you may be out of luck. Check the list below for where the glasses are being sold and send a prayer to the eclipse gods that some are still available.

How to take photos, videos, time-lapses

If you're shooting with a smartphone, you don't technically need any extra equipment, and you can do some pretty cool things with that wider shot, such as a time-lapse. But if you're serious about photography and plan to shoot close-ups of the sun, you'll need a solar filter for your camera to avoid damaging its lens. You will also want to pick up a tripod since it's going to get very dark, very quickly during totality. And don't forget your zoom lens to get a close-up of the eclipsed sun. If you're shooting a wide shot of the scene with your smartphone or GoPro, you don't need a solar filter. Regardless of whether you're shooting with a smartphone or professional camera, don't forget to capture the spectacle around you as tens to hundreds of thousands of eclipse glasses-wearing watchers look up to the sky all at once.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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