8 things you should bring to a solar eclipse viewing

A total solar eclipse will cross the U.S. on Monday, April 8. During a total solar eclipse, the moon blocks total light from the sun and appears to cover it entirely. It will darken the skies, and you’ll be able to see bright stars and planets. But the most spectacular thing to see will be the sun’s magnificent corona, according to scientists. It is considered a unique event in the known universe.

If this is your first total solar eclipse, you are in for a treat, but you should take steps to ensure safety. Except during the brief total phase, when the moon completely blocks the sun, it is not safe to look directly at the sun during an eclipse event without specialized eye protection for solar viewing.

The most important thing to remember when viewing a solar eclipse is to not look directly at the sun. Eclipse glasses are one way to watch an eclipse safely. These glasses contain filters certified to reduce the visible sunlight to a level that won’t damage your eyes and block ultraviolet and infrared radiation. But make sure you are not using them with cameras, binoculars or telescopes. These require different types of solar filters. Solar filters are attachments that protect your eyes and equipment from the sun’s intense brightness.

Beyond eye protection, fancy viewing products like specially designed telescopes and binoculars can enhance your experience. Make sure to bring a comfortable chair and sun protection, too.

8 things that will enhance your solar viewing experience:

Sun Catcher Solar Eclipse Glasses (4-Pack) $9.99

Keep your eyes safe with these approved viewing glasses. (Explore Scientific)

Protect your eyes with certified glasses. This4-pack from Sun Catcher has been tested and approved by ICS Labs for Direct Observation of the Sun. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get these approvedSolar Eclipse Glasses, on sale now for $8.99, delivered to your door in 24 hours. You canjoin or start a 30-day free trialto shop.

Smartphone Solar Imaging, Enhancing Photo Lens 2 Pack $11.99, now $9.99

You will need this solar film to safely view the eclipse with a phone. (Amazon)

You can purchase solar-safe white-light film and place it over your phone’s image sensor to protect the device during solar imaging. The VisiSolarSmartphone Solar Imaging, Enhancing Photo Lens 2 Packis optimized to capture the magic of a solar event with the utmost precision. ThisHestia devicefrom Vaonis will transform your smartphone into a smart telescope without complex setups or extensive knowledge of astronomy.

Sunoculars $24.95

These sunoculars are designed for eclipse viewing. (LUNT solar systems)

Once adequate eye protection is in place, you can look at ways to zoom in on the spectacle. Solar binoculars should meet the ISO 12312-2:20 international safety standard to avoid causing permanent damage to your eyes.These binocularsare designed for crystal-clear views of sunspots, eclipses and planetary transits. They have a 6x magnification and manual focus. Try theseCelestron 10×25 EclipSmart Solar Binocularsfor premium performance and superior safety. You can find them at Best Buy for $43.99. For a disposable option, try theseCelestron 2x EclipSmart Solar Observing Binoculars for $16.95.

Road Atlas for the Solar Eclipse $19.79

Plot the best course for viewing with a map. (Amazon)

While a partial eclipse will be visible from North America, the total eclipse will only be visible in certain states. ThisRoad Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2024will help you plot the best course to catch the total eclipse. Texas will get some prime viewing of the eclipse. Find out where the best spots are with thisTexas Total Eclipse Guide.

Coleman Broadband Mesh Quad Camping Chair $29.99, now $20.00

Make sure to pack a comfortable viewing chair. (Amazon)

While the eclipse might be brief, depending on your location, you could wait for several hours. ThisColeman Broadband Mesh Quad Camping Chairis a good choice for its portability and comfort. For an even lighter option, try theCLIQ Portable Chair, which collapses like an umbrella to the size of a water bottle for easy transport. It is on sale for $109.99 from $129.99.

“Who turned off the Sun,” $7.59

Explain the eclipse to little ones with this book. (Amazon)

Do you need to explain the significance of a total solar eclipse to your children?Lisa Combs’s “Who turned off the Sun” is a great place to start. This book delves into some of the mythical explanations generations before us had for the celestial event. Young scientists will find the most up-to-date eclipse information in“What is a Solar Eclipse,”which is available at Barnes & Noble for $13.99.

Total Solar Eclipse Of 2024 Bigfoot T-Shirt, $22.00

A t-shirt to capture the big event. (Teepublic)

Commemorative t-shirts are a great way to mark this special occasion. ThisBigfoot T-Shirt, designed and sold by Pizza Slice, blends style and legend. Thist-shirt on Amazonshows the phases of the eclipse and the date.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse Sugar Cookies, $43.61 for a dozen

Hand out commemorative cookies for a yummy treat. (Zazzle)

Will you be hosting a viewing party? Send your guests home with a commemorative2024 Total Solar Eclipse Date Starry Sky Sugar Cookiefrom Zazzle. It is an easy way to digest the day’s events! Or opt for a non-edible favor and hand out theseTotal Solar Eclipse Pinback Buttons. Get a 25-pack for $19.99 delivered to your door in 24 hours if you are an Amazon Prime member.

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Nora Colomer is a personal finance writer for Fox Business’ Strategic Initiatives team.

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