In order to check out the 'Great American Eclipse' on August 21, you'll need to have the right shades. Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun.

When it comes to solar eclipse viewing glasses, Amazon's had a run on them and only pricey ones are left. Plus, there's doubt as to the safety of some batches sold online, enough so that some customers are now getting refunds. So where can you snag a pair of these glasses and what will it cost you?

1. At your local New Jersey library

cost: FREE

NJ libraries including in Union, Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties have stocked up to help residents safely enjoy the solar eclipse. New Jersey Library Association President Michael Maziekien gave us the scoop and says you should definitely call ahead. Many libraries have extremely limited supplies and others are not handing out glasses 'until the day of'. Others purchased their own glasses, so they won't show up on the STAR net map in the above link. Space also is filling up for library events that require pre-registration.

2. Some NJ stores (in-person)

cost: typically under $5 a pair

Unique Photo in Fairfield reportedly is among brick & mortar locations with solar eclipse glasses in-stock. Plus, some NJ ACE Hardware stores, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's and Walmart locations have carried the shades, too. Any solar filters or viewers should be labeled with "ISO 12312-2". Again, you'll want to call ahead before stopping by.

If glasses are a no go, there's also a third option:

3. DIY indirect viewers

cost: free to a few bucks on 'household items'

For those with telescopes, NASA has a DIY manual for a sun funnel. There's plenty of warning about only attempting this if you're familiar with the telescope in the first place.

There's the option of using a pair of binoculars as a 'projector' of the solar eclipse, putting the image onto a safe secondary surface for watching. See the Exploratorium video on that, below:

There's also the method of pinhole projection, which requires little to no equipment. You project sunlight through a hole, onto a surface and look at the solar image on that surface.

solar eclipse pinhole viewer DIY
No solar eclipse glasses left handy? Here's what you need for a DIY indirect viewer (

If all else fails and you find yourself outside or by a window as the solar eclipse happens, just look at the shadow of a leafy tree. You'll see the ground scattered with 'crescent suns' projected by the spaces between the leaves.

Good luck, have fun and safe viewing!

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.

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