How to tell if your solar eclipse glasses are safe or fake

Don’t get caught with counterfeits on August 21.

The eclipse economy is in full swing. Eclipse glasses are in low supply, and counterfeit eclipse glasses being sold. How can you tell if the solar eclipse glasses you bought are safe for staring directly at the sun or fakes?

Reputable vendor research

Unfortunately, fake glasses may also be labeled as being compliant with ISO 12312-2 because, as a general rule, people are greedy, selfish and not to be trusted. To double check the veracity of your eclipse glasses’ ISO claims, you can check to see if the vendor from which you purchased the shades is trustworthy in the eyes of the AAS. See its list of┬áReputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers.

In assembling its list, the AAS checks to make sure a manufacturer earned its ISO rating with proper, labs-based testing. It also asks manufacturers for their authorized resellers and resellers for their manufacturers. If the vendor of your eclipse shades is listed, then you are safe. But the opposite isn’t necessarily true. If your vendor isn’t listed, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are slinging counterfeits. It just means the AAS hasn’t checked them out or hasn’t been able to track everything down.

So, what are you to do if your vendor isn’t on the list? Perform an eye test.

Eclipse glasses eye test

First off, a pair of honest-to-goodness solar eclipse glasses should be way darker than, say, your sunglasses. According to the AAS, the solar filters of eclipse glasses are “many thousands of times darker” than ordinary sunglasses.