LPS safety glasses

Tristen Broome, who will be a senior next year at Lincoln Northeast, came up with this winning design for safety glasses to be provided for secondary students in Lincoln Public Schools observing the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Courtesy image

They're made of cardboard. They cost a dollar, maybe two. And they'll keep your eyeballs from feeling like they've been rubbed with sandpaper.

Eclipse glasses, which contain filters to protect the wearer's retinas from the sun's rays, have been flying off shelves in advance of next month's total solar eclipse, when the moon's 70 mile-wide shadow will sweep across Nebraska.

In Beatrice, the tourism office at 218 N. Fifth St. ordered 30,550 pairs and was down to its last box Friday, said Karm Reese, director of member services for the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce.

She expects another order of 15,000 pairs to arrive in time for the Gage County Fair, which starts Wednesday.

Lincoln stores also reported brisk sales.

"We just sold our last pair," said John Zrust of Rockbrook Camera, 4333 S. 70th St. "I think we've sold more than 600 pairs here in Lincoln, and both of the Omaha stores are selling them as well."

An order for 1,500 more should arrive sometime next week, Zrust said Friday.

The Discovery Shop at University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Morrill Hall, 645 N. 14th St., was also sold out but expected to get more soon.

Staff at Pioneers Park Nature Center, 3201 S. Coddington Ave., said it has plenty left.

"I don't know how many we have sold so far, but we did get a thousand of them," said naturalist Jamie Kelley.

The special shades are also available online — just Google "eclipse glasses," but be sure to order a pair that meets the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

Five manufacturers make glasses that meet those standards, according to NASA: American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.

Regular sunglasses won't work.

And while it's safe to look directly at the eclipse during the brief period of totality — when the sun is completely blocked by the moon — special eye protection is necessary during the much-longer partial eclipse.

Reese said Beatrice-area employers and schools have purchased the glasses in bundles, and the tourism office has about two dozen customers each day seeking eyewear themselves.

The chamber is also selling T-shirts and boxer shorts with the phrase "got mooned in Beatrice, Nebraska." Its eclipse glasses say "Get Eclipsed" on the side, with an image of the moon printed on the front.

"They're totally super cute," Reese said. "You literally have an eclipse on your face."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7234 or zpluhacek@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @zachami.

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