On October 14th, a solar eclipse will be visible across the United States and beyond, leading to a rush to obtain solar eclipse glasses. But how do you know if the glasses you are buying are safe to use? Here are some important points to consider:
Choose from Approved Manufacturers
There are two manufacturers of solar protection glasses in the U.S.—American Paper Optics and Rainbow Symphony in conjunction with Thousand Oaks Optical. Baader Planetarium also produces solar projection materials in Europe, but they are not directly sold in the U.S. All of these manufacturers produce equally effective and reliable glasses.
Check for Safety Standard Compliance
To ensure the safety of solar eclipse glasses, they must meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. The American Astronomical Society provides a list of suppliers who meet this standard, and it is advisable to check the labeling on the glasses for the logos of the main manufacturers.
Avoid Counterfeit Glasses
Beware of counterfeit glasses, as they may not provide the necessary protection. Authentic glasses typically retail for around $5, so be cautious of extremely low or high prices. During the 2017 total solar eclipse, counterfeit glasses imported from China became a major concern, leading to Amazon banning all sales of eclipse glasses.
Protective Eyewear is Essential
It is a common misconception that solar eclipse glasses protect your eyes from ultraviolet and infrared radiation. The main threat to your eyes is actually the short wavelength bluish visible light, which is reduced by the glasses. Looking at the sun through binoculars or telescopes can cause irreparable harm to your eyes, so it is essential to use appropriate protective eyewear.
Manufacturing and Usage
Solar eclipse glasses are made using aluminum-coated polyester filter materials or resin impregnated with carbon black. The manufacturing process determines the stiffness of the filter and the appearance of the sun. When used as directed, both types of glasses are safe to use.
So, make sure to follow these guidelines when purchasing your solar eclipse glasses to ensure a safe and enjoyable viewing experience.