Tip of the Week - August 8, 2017 - Know How to Safely View the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

August 21, 2017 is going to be a particularly exciting day with many people focused on the rare total solar eclipse that will darken our daylight when the moon completely blocks out the sun.

“Tempted as you may be, do not look at the eclipse with your naked eye.  Now is the time to prepare for this event by purchasing protective eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers,” said CSLEA Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman.   “Don’t wait to the last minute, do your research on how to safely view the eclipse.  Take a look at Nasa’s webpage ‘How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely.’

The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you be sure that the glasses or viewers you’re considering have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product, and are certified as safe. The certification means the glasses and solar viewers have met an international safety standard and are safe for your eyes. Only consider products marked with ISO 12312-2, which means that the product has met the international safety standard. According to the American Astronomical Society, to date, only five manufacturers meet the standard for this certification:

  • American Paper Optics
  • Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only)
  • Rainbow Symphony
  • Thousand Oaks Optical
  • TSE 17

What else do you need to know to watch the eclipse safely?

  • Be sure your glasses or viewers are new: glasses that are more than 3 years old, or are wrinkled or scratched, won’t protect your eyes.
  • Read – and follow – the instructions carefully.
  • Don’t use homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses.
  • Never look directly at the sun without eclipse glasses or solar viewers that are certified as safe. (Again, look for ISO 12312-2 to be printed on the product.) It can lead to serious injury.
  • Don’t look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device – even using your eclipse glasses or viewer. Those optical devices concentrate the solar rays, will damage your eclipse glasses or viewer, and seriously injure your eyes.