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How to check if your eclipse glasses are safe

Hopkinsville, Kentucky will be ground zero for complete darkness on August 21.   (Source: WAVE 3 News) Hopkinsville, Kentucky will be ground zero for complete darkness on August 21.   (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As Kentucky's Darkest Day draws near, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) continues to issue warnings about unsafe eclipse viewers. 

The AAS said it is no longer sufficient to look for the  International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) logo and an ISO 12312-2 label.

In a release, the AAS said some companies are printing the ISO logo on fake eclipse glasses. These fake glasses do not block enough of the sun's ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation to make them safe. 

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The AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force has been working to put together a list of vendors and manufacturers that make legitimate glasses.  The task-force has checked manufacturers’ ISO paperwork to make sure it is complete and that it is properly accredited. They have also asked manufacturers to identify their authorized resellers and dealers to in order to find the source of the products being sold.

Click here to learn where to buy reputable eclipse glasses. 

Through a safe solar filter, only the sun or something just as bright can be seen, such as the sun reflected through a mirror a sun glint off shiny metal, a bright halogen light bulb, a bright-white LED flashlight (including the one on your smartphone), or an arc-welder's torch. All other light should appear dim. 
Before and after eclipse totality, or throughout the entire eclipse if you’re outside the path, the only safe way to look directly at the sun is through a proper solar filter. 

Here are a few tips from the American Astronomical Society for safe eclipse viewing. 

  • Always inspect a solar filter before use; if scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
  • Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on; put eclipse glasses on over them or hold a handheld viewer in front of them.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical devices.
  • Do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
  • Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device; note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.
  • If inside the path of totality, remove a solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
  • Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.

Another safe way to view a partial solar eclipse is through a pinhole projection, click here to learn how to make one.

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