May 21, 2024

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Don’t Stare in Vain! How to Spot Fake Solar Eclipse Glasses

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Concerned about fake eclipse glasses? Learn how to identify safe solar eclipse glasses with these easy checks! Enjoy the eclipse safely!
solar eclipse glasses

Don't Stare in Vain! How to Spot Fake Solar Eclipse Glasses

Looking forward to the next eclipse? It’s an amazing celestial event, but you need the right gear to watch it safely. Here in the US, with all the excitement, there’s a chance you might come across some fake eclipse glasses. Looking at the sun with unsafe glasses can damage your eyes permanently, so let’s be sure you have the real deal!

Safety First: The ISO Standard

Safe eclipse glasses must have filters that meet the international safety standard: ISO 12312-2. This ensures the glasses properly reduce sunlight to safe levels and block harmful UV and infrared radiation. Look for this ISO number printed on the glasses themselves.

Double Check: The Indoor Test

Here’s a quick and easy test you can do indoors:

  1. Put on your eclipse glasses.
  2. Look around the room.

If you can see clearly, those glasses are not safe! Proper eclipse glasses will make the room appear very dark, almost like twilight. You might barely see very bright light sources.

The Outdoor Test (Do Not Look Directly at the Sun!)

Warning: Never look directly at the sun without proper protection, even for a second! This test is to be done with extreme caution.

  1. Find a well-lit area with indirect sunlight, like under a tree.
  2. Hold your eclipse glasses up to a bright, indirect light source, like the sky through the leaves.

The light should appear very dim, almost invisible.

The Sunny Seal of Approval

When you finally get a glimpse of the eclipse, the sun should look comfortably bright, similar to a full moon. If the sun appears harsh or uncomfortable to look at, your glasses might not be providing enough protection.

Throwing Shade on Fakes

If your glasses fail any of these tests, play it safe and toss them out. Consider getting a new pair from a reputable source, like a science center, planetarium, or a retailer on the approved list of reputable vendors compiled by organizations like the American Astronomical Society [American Astronomical Society eclipse website].

Once you have safe glasses, get ready for an unforgettable astronomical experience!


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