FAIRFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Excitement was building Sunday a day ahead of the solar eclipse – but as the big event draws closer, it is getting harder for some people to find the special glasses they need to watch it safely.
“Soon as we saw the sign on the door, we knew what was going on — sold out,” said Dennis Taggart of Cedar Grove, New Jersey.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, Taggart found only disappointment at stores that were selling eclipse glasses.
Nationwide, supplies are down — and prices have been climbing up. A price of $5 per pair or less had been the norm, but not anymore.
“At $25 a pop, we’re not sure what we’re going to do even if we could find them,” Taggart said.
Customers lined up for the glasses at Unique Photo in Fairfield, New Jersey. New shipments have kept coming in there, but not fast enough to keep up with demand.
“Every day, we’re selling out of the glasses,” said Scott Farestad of Unique Photo
On Sunday, they sold out fast. Some people came to a counter to picking them up, but they were the ones who pre-ordered and pre-paid.
Kathleen Morris of Bernardsville called ahead a few days ago, so the eyes of her 11-year-old, Kyle, will be protected at soccer camp Monday.
“Oh wow, it just looks like an orange dot in the sky,” Kyle said of the sun upon putting on the glasses. “It’s just pitch black when I look up in the sun — it is an orange dot.”
Kyle’s test run of the glasses worked. Eye care experts said a good indication that the glasses are not fakes is that you cannot see anything at all, other than the sun, when looking through them.
You must resist the temptation to look at the eclipse with your naked eye, experts agree. If you don’t, you may wind up in the office of a clinical optometrist like Dean Evan Hart.
“In the next week, we’ll have many people coming in with permanently damaged and scarred retina,” he said.
William Taggart, 10, said he has been warned not to look into the sun by his father and his teachers.
And without approved eclipse glasses , you can always see the eclipse safely and properly filtered on television.
As CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported, most people will see a penumbra, or partial shadow, where you still see a portion of the Sun. But a select few, will see an umbra, where the Moon completely blocks out the Sun.
It’s called totality, and the area where it hits on the Earth is known as the path of totality.
On Monday, it goes from Oregon to South Carolina.
Locations such as Madras, Oregon; Casper, Wyoming; Carbondale, Illinois; Nashville, Tennessee; and Columbia, South Carolina will get a bona fide 100 percent solar eclipse. Places like Portland, Oregon are going to get about 99.5 percent.
If you move to the north or south of the path of totality, that percentage will drop.
In the Tri-State area, we’re expected to see about 71 percent of the Sun obscured by the Moon.
“We’re only going to see about a 70 percent eclipse, which means there will still be a third of the sun coming through, which can instantaneously cause one to be blind,” eye surgeon Dr. Stewart Levine told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
Monday’s total eclipse is the first to span the United States, coast to coast, in 99 years.