It’s a confusing time for Eclipse Watchers in the United States as Amazon recalls hundreds (if not thousands) of Eclipse Glasses this week. This happened just before the Total Solar Eclipse of August, 2017. This Total Solar Eclipse is a rare event because of its position – massive coverage of the sun in a path that spans the United States for over 90 minutes in one go. That doesn’t often happen over such a well-populated area of land.
Amazon’s Email Recall
This week, just before this scientifically significant event, Amazon sent out warnings to users who’d recently purchased “Eclipse Glasses” of several sorts. These glasses seem to have been “recalled” by Amazon regardless of their standing with the proper safety regulations, including the “ISO standard” mentioned in Amazon’s note.
“Safety is among our highest priorities,” said the Amazon email sent out this week. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively reached out to customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards. We want customers to buy with confidence anytime they make a purchase on Amazon.com and eclipse glasses sold on Amazon.com are required to comply with the relevant ISO standard.”
At this time it’s not clear what Amazon’s actual standards for recall were – other than the mention of ISO standards. We recommend you view the full American Astronomical Society listing of Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers – that’s also listed below for brands, while this AAS link provides vendors and retail chains.
The Library has Glasses
Before we go anywhere with listing glasses, here we’ve got to point you toward a library for free Eclipse Viewing Events. It’s fun to view outer space from the comfort of one’s own home, but give the library a try if you want to rub shoulders with other enthusiasts in your area. This is especially relevant if you have kids!
For a full list of Libraries in the United States hosting Eclipse Events, have a peek at this Library viewing event map. These events will have proper viewing equipment (including glasses) for the public! This is the EASIEST way to be sure you’re getting what you need to view this event right!
The Safe List
For those users who’ve already purchased a pair of Eclipse Viewing Glasses – or anything of that nature – we’ve got a list. This list comes from the American Astronomical Society – of the National Science Foundation. That’s as official as it gets, trusted by our good pals at NASA, too.
The list shows all trusted brands in the United States (and a couple outside the USA, with stars by their names). These brands are Reputable Solar Viewer Brands, and as the AAS suggests: “The following telescope and solar-filter companies manufacture and/or sell eclipse glasses (sometimes called eclipse shades) and/or handheld solar viewers that have been verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.”
Reputable Solar Viewer Brands
• American Paper Optics (Eclipser) / EclipseGlasses.com / 3dglassesonline.com
• APM Telescopes (Sunfilter Glasses)*
• Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold Film)* [see note]
• Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers)
• DayStar (Solar Glasses)
• Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses)
• Halo Solar Eclipse Spectacles
• Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses) [including kid-size]
• Meade Instruments (EclipseView Glasses & Viewers)
• Rainbow Symphony (Eclipse Shades)
• Seymour Solar (Helios Glasses)
• Solar Eclipse International / Cangnan County Qiwei Craft Co.* (plastic glasses only)
• Thousand Oaks Optical (Silver-Black Polymer & SolarLite)
• TSE 17 / 110th.de (Solar Filter Foil)*
Let us know if you find any other brands you believe should be on the list but aren’t! And remember – the filters should be used before and after the Total Eclipse. Only when the sun is COMPLETELY COVERED should you consider taking your viewing glasses off! Once you’re there, let us know how you’re celebrating the event!