Rochester Museum and Science Center sees a run on eclipse glasses

Aug 17, 2017

The Rochester Museum and Science Center's eclipse glasses were both cheap and secure bringing people from all walks of life.
Credit Tianna Manon / WXXI News

A crowd gathered at the Rochester Museum and Science Center Thursday morning to buy special glasses for viewing the upcoming solar eclipse.

The line of eclipse watchers snaked out of the door and through the parking lot. 

RMSC, with the help of a large donation, was selling protective glasses for $2 to provide safe viewing of  the eclipse on Monday. By the end of the day on Thursday, the glasses were sold out. Officials are hoping they can get some more before Monday.

With so many reports of fraudulent glasses that don’t protect the eyes, people like Mary Warth was happy to find glasses she could trust.

“This was the first place I thought of...we love the RMSC and with the planetarium it seems really logical and so, yeah, first place I thought of.”

The glasses were manufactured by Rainbow Symphony or American Paper Optics, according to Steve Fentress, Director of the Strasenburgh Planetarium who added that it’s important people think of eye safety on Monday.

“You always need to protect your eyes. It’s not only the visible light but invisible light, infrared light and our eyes do not feel pain inside so damage can be happening without your knowing it,” Fentress said, adding that fake eclipse glasses can be incredibly harmful because people who think they're protected are more likely to look at the sun and eclipse.

The sun will be about 70 percent covered in our region at the height of the eclipse. The eclipse itself will start about 1:14 p.m. and last for more than two hours, wrapping up just before 4 p.m.

For many who experienced the last solar eclipse in the 1970s it’s a chance to better experience this event- and this time with better technology like glasses that actually protect the eyes.

“I just remember being told not to look directly at the sun,” said Warth, recalling the last eclipse. As a kid, her options were limited but on Monday she’ll be able to take her family anywhere and with the  glasses  she got at the RMSC they should be able to enjoy the eclipse.

“We didn’t have special glasses,” she continued. “It was more to enjoy the environment, just the experience of seeing it go dark. I did sneak a quick peak and look back and say ‘oh no,’ but no I was fine.”

Fentress added that with another eclipse coming in just seven years, this one is like a practice run. It’ll give the staff and the city time to better prepare for the total eclipse in 2024.