photo: Ken Lund via Flickr

By now, you’ve definitely heard about the epic eclipse that’s coming ‪in August, but did you know you need special glasses to view it? As it turns out even when the sun is blocked by the moon it’s not a good idea to stare directly at it. Luckily, there’s a simple and free way to watch without impairing your vision.

While you don’t need to be directly under the path of the eclipse to get an impressive partial viewing, you do need to wear protective eyewear if you plan on looking to the skies. Staring at an eclipse without special lenses can damage your eyes, but luckily you don’t need to be a scientist or spend a fortune to protect them. Paper eclipse glasses are available for purchase from several companies like the ones suggested by the American Astronomical Society.

If you don’t feel like spending money or can’t track any down, all you have to do is head to your local library where they will be giving them away for free. Nearly 5,000 libraries across the country will be giving away free eclipse glasses. Check the map on STAR-Net Libraries to find a participating library near you.

Are you planning on watching the eclipse? Do you have your glasses yet? Tell us in the comments below.