On August 21, the moon will pass between the earth and the sun causing darkness during the daylight hours. There will be an enormous gathering in the states where there is a total eclipse to witness the celestial event. This will be the first total eclipse in 99 years. According to the Great American Eclipse website, between 1.8 million and 7.4 million people are expected to travel locations along the path of totality, when the moon briefly blocks out the sun completely, that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina.
Astronomer Rick Fienberg wasthat he recently bought as a “souvenir” at a store near his country home in New Hampshire that bore the name of American Paper Optics (APO), one of two companies that dominate the market. After testing, he confirmed the glasses were counterfeit.
To Fienberg, who oversaw the validation of eclipse viewers for the American Astronomical Society (AAS), this was further evidence of a scandalous trend: Consumers may find it difficult to tell the difference between genuine protective gear and fake ones that could result in eye injuries. NASA’s Alex Young told CBS News such damage can be permanent.
Many of the phony products appear to be coming from Asia, according to Fienberg, who also oversees media relations for AAS. “It’s a problem that we didn’t know existed until two weeks ago,” he said. “Now, it’s occupying every waking minute.”
Unfortunately, some eclipse viewer makers are putting ISO labels on their products as they try to cash in on the Aug. 21 total eclipse. Approved glasses should contain all the following:
- ISO (International Organization for Standards)
- Manufacturers name and address
To test for safety, the only thing you can see through a safe solar filter is the sun itself. If you look through and the sun is too bright, out of focus or surrounded by a murky haze, or if you can see things like ordinary household lights, the glasses aren’t safe. Another test is immediately upon purchasing filters, place them up to an led light. You should see no specks of light at all. Filtered approved lenses should be thousands of times darker than sunglasses. There should be no scratches or dents and should not be old.
Fienberg has compiled a list of reputable safe glasses from 100 different vendors.
Enjoy this one-in-a-lifetime event but take time to make sure you and your loved ones are safe. Our eyes are precious and should be treated accordingly. Physicians advise small children and animals stay inside to avoid any possible urge to look up causing damage to their eyes.
Photo courtesy of Bing. Video courtesy of YouTube.