Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How to tell if your solar eclipse glasses are fake

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As Ontarians prepare for Monday’s solar eclipse, many are discovering that the solar viewing glasses they have purchased may not be safe.


Recently, Amazon issued a recall for certain eclipse glasses that have not been approved by the American Astronomical Society, and warns anyone who received the recall not to use the glasses during the eclipse.


The posting had title variations including the following: “Solar Eclipse Glasses Approved 2024, CE and ISO Certified Solar Eclipse Observation Glasses, Sun Viewing for Solar Eclipse”.


Carleton Place resident Joanne MacDonald also fears she received unsafe eclipse glasses after seeing her pair in a television news segment.


“There was a segment on glasses for the solar eclipse that are not good,” MacDonald told CTV News Ottawa. “The pair they held up were exactly the same pair that were purchased in Perth.”


MacDonald says her glasses were purchased at the Home Hardware store in Perth, Ont.


Home Hardware declined an interview but told CTV News Ottawa it stands by the product and was sold out of the glasses at the Perth location.


“In this case, Perth Home Hardware Building Centre bought these glasses from a manufacturer called WC Smith. They have provided certification documents ensuring these glasses are up to standard and that the ISO number stamp is legitimate,” a spokesperson for Home Hardware said in an email to CTV News on Saturday.


“Perth Home Hardware Building Centre did their due diligence by ensuring that the manufacturer who sold them these glasses was credible, had the documentation required to meet safety standards, and double checked the ISO stamp on all of the glasses sold in the store.”


Many glasses, including the ones sold at the Perth Home Hardware, advertise being “NASA-approved,” but NASA says it does not approve any particular brand of solar viewer.


“[They have] the eclipse on the side, and it showed the date and it said approved by NASA,” said MacDonald. “And [the report] said those were the ones that were not good glasses.”


So, how can you know if your eclipse glasses are safe for viewing Monday’s solar eclipse?


The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has published a list of approved solar viewer manufacturers.


The AAS also says a simple test can be done inside before viewing the sun with your glasses. When worn indoors, the AAS says users should not be able to see anything through the lenses.


All safe viewing glasses must also have filtered lenses that comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.


The AAS warns that any company producing a knockoff product can print anything on their glasses, and urges buyers to check the brand is on their approved list.


With eclipse glasses in such high demand, and without an approved set, MacDonald fears she may miss out on this once in a lifetime event.


“Well, my concern is eye damage. I don’t want to take any chances,” said MacDonald.


CTV News Ottawa will have special live coverage of Monday’s solar eclipse.


Watch CTVNewsOttawa.ca from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 8. You can also tune in to Newstalk 580 CFRA for continuing coverage.


CTV News will have coverage from Kingston, Brockville, Ottawa and the Niagara Region.

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