Can't get those coveted eclipse glasses? Here are some options

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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) "It's a great thing to see. It doesn't happen that often, especially if it's going to be clear out," said Jack St. Louis, the president of the Vermont Astronomical Society.

St. Louis is getting excited. Monday marks a day he's waited a few years for.

"What's going to happen is the moon will pass right in front of the sun as we see it. It will cover 60 percent, maybe a little more," he said.

It's called a partial solar eclipse. And the rare event is making libraries quite popular.

"At least 10-12 calls an hour," librarian Jill Coffrim said.

People are looking for eclipse glasses. Some libraries in our region had them-- thousands actually-- but the disposable solar shades are quickly getting snatched up.

"We are out of glasses, completely out. Yeah, sorry to say," Coffrim said.

The public response to the eclipse surprised staff at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston. They got a grant for the glasses.

"I think the choice was 100 pairs or 1,000 pairs. I thought, 'Oh, 100 is not enough but we'll never do 1,000.' And, obviously, we could have done more," Coffrim said.

They chose 1,000; 900 have already flown out the door. This library and most that we called are now saving what they have left for Monday's viewing parties. Williston will ask attendees to share its remaining 100 pairs so everyone can get a glimpse at this rare event.

There are a number of eclipse glasses out there that are fakes; they are being recalled. To figure out if yours are safe, they should have an ISO number. When you put them on and look up to the sky, all you should see is the sun. If you see anything else, they're no good.

Now, if you can't get your hands on these coveted glasses, there are a number of other techniques you can use to safely view the eclipse.

"This is an old-fashioned pinhole projector," St. Louis said.

You just need two pieces of cardboard to make one. Poke a small hole in one, put your back to the sun and hold up that piece. It will project the sun's image on the other piece of cardboard.

You can also buy a piece of welding glass-- shade 14-- for a couple bucks. That makes everything look green. But like the glasses, it will block the harmful light while still letting you see the sun.

If you have a telescope, we have two more inexpensive options. A funnel, an eyepiece and a square of projection screen will help you host a viewing party.

"A lot of people can see it this way," St. Louis said.

A piece of Mylar filter over the lens will work, too.

"You put the Mylar filter on the front," St. Louis explained.

We tested it with our camera; the result was pretty cool.

"You look in here and it's an even better view," St. Louis said, looking through his souped up telescope.

Whether you have eclipse glasses or some homemade option, timing is key. Experts say to start looking at 1:30 p.m. The peak is 2:45 p.m. and the whole thing is done by 4 p.m.

This is only a partial eclipse in Vermont. You will have to wait seven years to see the next total eclipse in Vermont.