Gear for your August 21 solar eclipse viewing pleasure

From safety shades to crystals to capitalize on this celestial event, we've got you

From safety shades to crystals to capitalize on this celestial event, we've got you

The Great American Eclipse is going to be unlike anything we've experienced before astronomically, and perhaps ever will again — so rare are they that they are worth the planning and preparing to experience it. For Instagram, yes, but also for your human experience on Earth! While totality will only be experienced from points in the United States, across Canada, many will be gathering to catch what glimpse they can (count us in!)...so, start planning.

Here is some of the gear you'll want for your August 21 solar eclipse viewing pleasure:

First things first: Safety

No, seriously, safety first. Looking at the sun without ISO 12312-2 compliant sun filter lenses can damage your eyes. This compliancy requirement counts for all viewing apparati including solar glasses, solar shields, telescopes and anything else that has to do with vision.

Solar Glasses and Goggles:

There are loads of solar glasses available on Amazon and most come with the intense Americana graphics you'd expect from an event being referred to as The Great American Eclipse. However, NASA cites this site a good resource for reputable vendors of solar glasses.

If you wear glasses or would appreciate the ease of looking through a set of tripod-mounted goggles, perhaps go for a set of binoculars or goggles. The Celestron EclipSmart 2017 North American Total Solar Eclipse Binocular was designed specially for the August 21 eclipse. They have rubber eyecups for folks with spectacles and can be used to look at the sun anytime, really.

I bought the Celestron North American Total Solar EclipSmart 2x Power Viewers Solar Observing Kit from Amazon (and paid the extra $10 for Amazon Prime to ensure the kit arrives in time for the solar eclipse). Even better, the kit comes with a cool graphic August 21 eclipse poster that you can tuck away and show your grandkids one day.

Solar filter & a Telescope:

Use your solar glasses or binoculars to observe the sun in partial phases of the eclipse, and then use a telescope to catch the corona — a beautiful aura of plasma that surrounds the sun like a crown — in totality. You'll need a safe solar filtration for your telescope like the Orion Deluxe Safety Film Solar Filter. Observing totality through a telescope and a solar filter will expose lots of really cool sun effects you'll never, ever see again.

The pinhole method:

(Instructables )

Another alternative — go the DIY route. Get yourself two rigid paper plates and poke a small pinhole in 1 of them. During the eclipse, hold the plate with the pinhole in it up to the sky, above the plate without the pinhole in it. The shadow it casts will perfectly reflect the image of the sun onto the solid plate — safely! Just be sure to look at the plate towards the ground only, not towards the pinhole plate in the sky.

Try this too: Get a simple pinboard from the hardware store, the kind you keep at a workbench to hang a bunch of stuff off — pinboards have a cool pattern of holes in them. Hold it up to the sun during the eclipse, while keeping your gaze down toward the ground, to see a clear outline of the moon in the shadow of the pinboard. Watch a demonstration of this cool pinboard trick:

The perfect combination of crystals:

In astrology, eclipses signify change in a serious way. The solar eclipse on August 21st is in Leo with a trine to Uranus. Stay tuned for our very special eclipse horoscope coming next week, and know that this astrological effect is going to mean HUGE THINGS in terms of new beginnings. Samantha Chin, owner of The Rock Store in Toronto, says the period between the lunar eclipse (August 7th) and the solar eclipse (August 21st) is all about new ideas, movement and fresh energies. It's the perfect time to get rid of old things and create new space in your life. Be open to new ideas because they'll come out of nowhere.

Samantha's crystal cocktail for the solar eclipse is: Citrine, Pyrite, Garnet, Jade and clear Quartz, which will help with this high-energy period on Earth.

My personal recommendation, being a good witch and all, is to take the opportunity to perform the ultimate August 21 eclipse meditation ritual. You will need a white candle and a small piece of paper and pen. As the eclipse progresses, light your candle and practice your basic grounding breathing. Focus on the areas of your life that new ideas and fresh perspective, and write them down on the piece of paper. Keep them with you forever\

For watching comfortably outdoors in Canada:

Pack your bag with some comforts you're OK with using outside. The sudden absence of sunlight is going to cause a quick dip in temperature, and you'll be lying out for at least a few hours so comfort is key during this rare Earthly occurrence. We love these Shelly Round Velvet Pillows ($49, Urban Outfitters) because they double as soft seats and nicely sized pillows for lying on your back. This IKEA travel blanket has a built-in pillow and is large enough for two. ($40 at Ikea) or you can get really comfortable and watch the full 12-hour eclipse from this double air mattress ($70 at Canadian Tire) in your backyard.

Pack a Swell Metallic Thermos with tea, or a cold drink if it's a hot day (fingers crossed!) to bring to the park with you. It will keep your drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. The Sunshine Mix from Squish ($22 at squishcandies.com) has 12 flavours of sweet, sweet candy — a different flavour for every hour of the eclipse) and this freeze-dried Astronaut Ice Cream Sandwich ($4 at MEC) seems like a brilliant snack for the occasion too.  

For the perfect Insta:

If you're a beauty lover, you can play up the cosmic vibe with your makeup too — it'll probably look really cool in photos taken in dull, eclipse lighting. Stila makes a killer Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow that looks like a mirror on your eyelids and Bite Beauty Prismatic Pearl Creme Lip Gloss in Peacock is perfect for an intergalactic look. There's never been a better time to wear metallic makeup, really.

No matter how you want to experience the solar eclipse on August 21st, it's time to get planning — check out our guide to everything you need to know about this epic celestial happening.