Planning to watch the eclipse? Read this first

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On Monday, August 21, 2017, sky-gazers across the country will watch the solar eclipse. If you’re planning to watch, you’ll need to use eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Be sure to get the kind that actually protects your eyes.

Start by making 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. Check out this list from the American Astronomical Society of brands that meet the international safety standard.

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.
  • This rare event will be exciting – and even better when you view the eclipse safely. Check out NASA’s Eclipse 101 for even more on the eclipse.

(This post was updated on August 7, 2017 to reflect the most recent list of brands meeting the international safety standard.)

by Alesha Hernandez