GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Coastwide, people have been making a mad dash for official NASA glasses in order to view the eclipse safely and avoid eye damage from looking directly at the sun.
Though they may not look like much, people are eager to snag a pair of the protective lenses. The Downtown Gulfport Public Library handed out more than 400 pairs of the the glasses Saturday morning.
The trade off was simple - one pair per person with the condition of participating in a brief eclipse program.
"They're really dark. It's pitch black and they wont hurt your eyes when you look at the sun," said one happy student.
The protection is especially important in South Mississippi, where the total eclipse won't be visible.
"We're going to get to about 82 percent, that's why these glasses are so important," said Karen Burkett. "You can't take them off for any part of the eclipse."
For families who up - until now - weren't sure they'd get to experience the phenomena, they say they are thankful for the local library.
"Words can't even express the words for making this happen for us," said one parent.
With the next total eclipse a few decades away, getting a glimpse at this one is something people don't want to miss.
The library will hand out an additional 200 pairs at noon Monday at the start of the eclipse.