Durham County

Beware harmful rays. Eclipse safety glasses are flying off the shelves

In this Tuesday, July 18, 2017 photo, Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21, from Twin Falls.
In this Tuesday, July 18, 2017 photo, Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21, from Twin Falls. AP

A solar eclipse is rare, and in anticipation of the Aug. 21 event, glasses for safely viewing the eclipse are flying off the shelves.

The Museum of Life and Science sold out of the glasses a few weeks ago and is not going to get another shipment, said Leslie Pepple, communications manager for the museum. “Unfortunately, we wish we did — they’re hot items right now,” she said. The museum plans a public viewing during the eclipse and will have about 100 pairs of the glasses to hand out, along with telescopes for viewing, she said.

The Morehead Planetarium is running low and sold 250 in 10 minutes alone Wednesday morning, said Molly Molpus, communications manager for the planetarium. The planetarium is trying to place one more order, “but the manufacturers are stretched to the limit,” Molpus said.

Morgan Imports has sold out, but expects a shipment of several hundred later this week, said Jacqueline Morgan.

Many Lowe’s Home Improvement stores also have sold out of the glasses. The closest store that has glasses available now is the Lowe’s at 7316 Knightdale Blvd., Knightdale, said Steve Salazar, manager of corporate communications for Lowe’s.

But customers can expect a new shipment of glasses — no date was announced — at the Durham store at 4402 Fayetteville Road, he said.

Portions of western North Carolina will be in the path of the total eclipse. Durham residents will see about 93 percent coverage of the sun during the eclipse.

NASA recommends that anyone wanting to look at the eclipse use the glasses. “Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face,” NASA’s website states. “The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as ‘eclipse glasses.’ ”

Cliff Bellamy: 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1

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