Bay Area telescope shop seeing boost in sales ahead of solar eclipse

Thursday, August 17, 2017 07:32PM
Before they flock to central Oregon for Monday's total eclipse, astronomy buffs are flocking somewhere else-- the Bay Area's only brick-and-mortar telescope shop.


CUPERTINO, Calif. - The last-minute, frantic search for protective eyewear is having an impact here in the Bay Area as people gear up for Monday's rare celestial event. For three weeks, Orion Telescopes in Cupertino has been sold out of solar eclipse glasses and filters.


"The phone rings off the hook from the moment of opening to the moment of closing," said assistant manager, Eric Chacon.

Orion Telescopes is the only astronomy store in Northern California. Customers from all over the Bay Area have been making last minute trips for telescope accessories. Chris Espinosa is traveling from Portola Valley to Oregon for the solar eclipse.

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"I melted the eyepiece on my telescope by looking at the sun directly," he said. "I'm hopefully getting a new eyepiece and some solar filter film to put on the cover of my telescope, so we can directly view the eclipse safely."

With eclipse gear sold out nearly everywhere, a homemade solution may be the only answer for looking at the sun.

For Kristin Burnahm, constructing a white box with a pinhole will replace the need for solar eclipse glasses.

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"I wasn't going to miss it," she said. "I'm getting all choked up. It was very exciting to me when I saw an eclipse in grammar school."

No matter how you will be viewing the eclipse, eye safety is extremely important.

"Your eyes are very precious," said Chacon. "An event like this is something on another level. It truly is astronomical."

On the day of the eclipse, we'll bring you live coverage on TV and online. Click here for full stories, videos, and photos on this rare event.
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