Solar eclipse shades a rare find in New Orleans

Photo: Rob Stothard, Getty Images
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NEW ORLEANS -- There's a lot of hype surrounding next week's solar eclipse. So much so, that solar viewers are hard to find around town.

Sunglasses (even polarized) are NOT appropriate eyewear during the eclipse, and many are wondering where they can official shades.

"So I don't know what we'll be able to see, but it'll be pretty exciting no matter what we see," said Dawne Sternberg.

For the first time in almost a century, a solar eclipse will be seen from 'coast to coast.' The Crescent City is expected to see a partial eclipse, which according to UNO Professor, Dr. Gregory Seab, is still something you don't want to miss.

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"We're not in the path of totality, but New Orleans will see the sun 80 percent eclipsed," Seab said. "I just think that it's one of the coolest things. Realize the moon is out there, orbiting the earth for billions of years and we can see that orbital motion."

Seab has a warning though: It doesn't matter where you see it, proper eclipse shades need to be worn.

"The sun will burn your eyes out," he said. "The shades will block out 99.999 percent of the sun's light and in fact the only thing you can see through them is the sun. Nothing else is quite bright enough."

Only problem, here in New Orleans, they're hard to find.

"If you can find them in the city I'd like to know where," Seab said.

NASA's Website gives a list of national retailers that sell authentic solar viewers. However, several quick phone calls found most places are sold out locally and won't be getting more before Monday's event.

Buying online is an option, but just make sure it matches one of the official brands NASA highlights.

"I do not have the glasses," said Lori Tucker. "They've been doing too many scams so it's been hard to find the right ones."

Glasses or not, there are still ways to enjoy the eclipse. And if for whatever reason you miss this one, mark your calendars because the next is expected to take place in April 2024.

Monday's eclipse is expected to be about a three-hour event, from 11:57 a.m. to 2:57 p.m. However, the best time to see it as the mid-point which is around 1:29 p.m.