Hey, everyone. I wasn’t planning on writing about this today (or, really, at all) but this is important.
It seems some people have decided it’d be a good idea to try to cash in on August 21’s solar eclipse by selling counterfeit eclipse glasses as if they were the real thing. They even faked the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) ISO 12312-2 label and paperwork. What this means is even if you see the ISO logo and label on your viewer, you might not be safe.
This is really dangerous stuff. If you have the wrong type of glasses, you could seriously damage your eyes. Not to be too preachy about this, but if your plans for making a quick buck involves blinding people, you probably need to rethink your life a little.
A good rule of thumb, a good starting point, for making sure your glasses are safe is to put them on without looking at the Sun, and see what you can see. The correct answer is nothing. You shouldn’t be able to see anything through good quality solar filters, except for the Sun and maybe its reflection in mirrored surfaces. When you wear your glasses, either to test them or at go time, stay in one place. None of us wants to hear stories about the hospitals being filled up on eclipse day by people with broken toes and noses.
Museums, schools, planetariums, astronomy clubs are probably a good bet, but not all stores are. My local library has been giving them away, too. Thankfully the American Astronomical Society has put together a list of reputable manufacturers and vendors of eclipse glasses. If you’re not sure, check the list.
Remember, you need to use filters or some indirect viewing method throughout the entire eclipse except during the couple of minutes of totality. If you’re not in the zone of totality, you need to be safe through the whole thing, no exceptions. If you want some more ideas, I wrote some more about it a little while ago.
Please, please be safe, everyone, enjoy the show, and clear skies!