Be careful when buying ‘eclipse glasses,’ astronomy group warns

Malaysian school children wore glasses with special filters watch the partial solar esclipse at the National Planetarium in Kuala Lumpur in 2016.
Malaysian school children wore glasses with special filters watch the partial solar esclipse at the National Planetarium in Kuala Lumpur in 2016.

When it comes to purchasing the right type of glasses to safely view this month’s solar eclipse, there’s more than meets the eye.

Officials from the nonprofit American Astronomical Society are warning people — those looking to buy the special lenses that allow you to stare directly at an eclipse as it’s happening — to steer clear of phony or counterfeit products being sold online. Buying inadequate glasses, the group says, could lead to serious eye damage.

The proper lenses should meet what’s called “ISO 12312-2” (sometimes written as “ISO 12312-2:2015”) international safety standards, according to the group. Accredited manufacturers print a logo bearing this identifying mark on their products and packaging.

The problem is, vendors seem to be slapping that label onto glasses that don’t meet the qualifications, possibly looking to earn a quick buck amid the excitement surrounding the Aug. 21, celestial event.

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