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Are Your Total Solar Eclipse Glasses Really Safe Or Fake?

Total solar eclipse glasses
How safe are your total solar eclipse glasses? [Image by Sima Ghaffarzadeh from Pixabay]
Staring into the sun without the right protection can be hugely damaging while experiencing the total solar eclipse. As we edge closer to the celestial event, the American Astronomical Society is warning people to be sure they have real, not counterfeit solar eclipse glasses, to protect their eyes.

Beware of counterfeit or fake total solar eclipse glasses

Reportedly, many counterfeit or fake solar eclipse glasses are flooding the market with sellers hoping to make a mint. However, these fake glasses will put unsuspecting eclipse viewers in danger of the total solar eclipse. These fakes, which have popped up across the country are no darker than ordinary sunglasses. According to the American Astronomical Society, this makes them unsafe for eclipse viewing.

Solar eclipse
[Image by AstroGraphix_Visuals from Pixabay]
Rick Fienberg, the project manager of the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force, has said in a statement:

Solar filters are at least 1,000 times darker than even the darkest regular sunglasses.

This warning comes mere days before the April 8 total solar eclipse. Meanwhile, this celestial event has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse. According to the experts, the eclipse is expected to cross the country from Texas through to Maine. Moreover, the eclipse is an especially important event as according to NASA, the next total solar eclipse is not going to happen until 2044.

Many travelers are heading to destinations in the path of totality and it is vital for them to know the importance of safe solar eclipse glasses. Without the real deal, gazing at the eclipse with the naked eye can cause severe injury, including the possibility of permanent blindness. According to the American Astronomical Society, safe solar eclipse glasses block “all but a minuscule fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV), visible, and infrared (IR) light.” This means that the wearer will be able to see the eclipse happen in safety.

How do you check whether the glasses are safe?

Watching an eclipse
Watching an eclipse [Image by Dave Davidson from Pixabay]
According to the American Astronomical Society, it isn’t that easy to tell if the glasses are 100 percent safe. However, according to the society it is relatively easy to tell if they are not safe. Moreover, there are three tests people can use to check them out, starting with an indoor test. When wearing the glasses indoors, people shouldn’t be able to see anything, except possibly some very bright lights and very faintly.

In the second test, people should try wearing them outside on a sunny day. If the glasses are genuine, only something as bright as the sun’s reflection off a shiny surface should be seen, and only faintly.

Test number three involves glancing up at the sun. Should the wearer see a “sharp-edged, round disk” that is “comfortably bright” to see, the glasses are likely safe. However, the American Astronomical Society does warn to stare at the sun (and the solar eclipse) sparingly.

“Staring at a partial solar eclipse for more than a few seconds at a time, even through perfectly safe solar viewers, isn’t much fun anyway,” Fienberg added.

Besides these tests, another way to ensure the glasses are safe is to purchase them from a list of vendors supplied by the society here.

Have fun watching the total solar eclipse of 2024, but make sure you are safe.


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