Eclipse glasses are a hot item right now as the United States prepares to be dazzled by a coast-to-coast eclipse Aug. 21. But some companies are skirting safety regulations and hawking unsafe wares to an unsuspecting public.
As a result, the American Astronomical Society has issued a word of caution about eye protection, following reports of "potentially unsafe eclipse viewers flooding the market."
Here are some tips from the American Astronomical Society:
? Don't search for eclipse glasses on the internet and then buy whatever pops up in the ads or search results.Check the society's list of reputable vendors before buying: eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.
? Check to see what you can see through the glasses. You shouldn't be able to see anything through a safe solar filter except the sun itself or something comparably bright, such as a bright halogen light bulb. If you can see lights of more ordinary brightness, and you're not sure the product came from a reputable vendor, it's no good.
? If you glance at the sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus, and/or surrounded by a bright haze, it's no good.
? If you get your glasses from a friend who happens to be an amateur or professional astronomer, they're probably compliant. That's also usually the case with products from professional astronomical organizations, such as college and university physics and astronomy departments, and amateur-astronomy clubs.
? If you suspect that you got bad glasses, ask the seller for a refund or credit and replace them with a product from a reputable vendor.
?Before using your glasses, inspect them. If scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, discard them.
? Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
? Supervise children using solar filters.