The 2017 solar eclipse in North America is fast approaching and with many local vendors now are sold out of their limited supply of solar filters and viewers many are turning to alternatives to view the solar eclipse.

NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) have a full list of authorized dealers of solar eclipse viewers and eclipse glasses throughout Central New York but many sources are turning to alternative methods like viewing through a camera or even welding masks for the chance to watch and film the 2017 solar eclipse.

However, most welding masks are NOT suitable for viewing a solar eclipse and no masks are solar rated.

Solar eclipse glasses are rated ISO 12312-2 for solar viewing and NASA states that the ONLY suitable welding mask for viewing a solar eclipse is the shade 14 welding lens.

As USA Today discovered, most welding lenses and masks that are stocked in stores are usually only rated from 9-13 and do not stock a 14 lens unless specially ordered.

Others are turning to camera to view the eclipse indirectly but that can cause even more issues if the camera is not properly protected as well. In order to film the solar eclipse If a viewer tries to film the solar eclipse with an unfiltered lens the the damage is intensified due to the optics of the device and can result in the complete destruction of your camera.

The proper way to film or photograph a solar eclipse is using solar rated filters, a neutral density filter rated at 14 or 16 will safely protect your camera without disastrous results however, again NASA recommends that you do not use the viewfinder of your camera for better protection.

NASA has a wide array of methods to indirectly view the solar eclipse if you cannot find suitable eye protection.