Where to Get Safe and Reliable Solar Eclipse Glasses
Yes, you'll need them to safely view the annual "ring of fire" eclipse this month.
Eclipses are a huge and pretty rare deal for space enthusiasts, and in the next few months, you will be able to catch not one, but two of them in the United States—pretty cool, right? On October 14, the "ring of fire" solar eclipse will be blessing the skies, while a total solar eclipse is on tap for April 8, 2024.
Regardless of where you decide to watch either of these—whether it's on a cruise in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico or along the path of totality on land—there is one crucial aspect you shouldn't underestimate, and it has to do with having the right equipment to enjoy the experience.
Forget about fancy telescopes and all that. What you should really be focusing on is making sure you get yourself a good, regulated, and safe pair of solar eclipse glasses or filters. Watching the eclipse with a naked eye is a strong no-no, and it can potentially severely and permanently injure your eyes, so you'd better be careful!
If you don't really know what to look for, don't stress—we've got you covered. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) offers a comprehensive list of reputable manufacturers you can and should trust when purchasing your eclipse glasses, and you can find it right here. It takes into account not only the presence of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) logo—which, according to the AAS, isn't enough anymore due to counterfeit products—but also vetted data from the producing companies to ensure the sellers listed are legit and safe.
There are also some tips you can follow to test the goggles for safety yourself. According to the AAS, you shouldn't be able to see anything through a good pair of eclipse glasses or filters except the actual sun (or something that is as bright as the sun, like its reflection in a mirror). If you are able to see dimmer lights, you're probably better off without those glasses and you should get a new pair.
Also, definitely don't trust everything you read on product descriptions! As the AAS points out, in the past, some eclipse glasses sellers hosted even on the most reputable sites—including Amazon and eBay—listed products that weren't properly tested, and some of them claimed to be approved or endorsed by NASA, which is not true, considering NASA does not approve or endorse products. If you decide to buy from sites like Amazon or eBay, make sure the seller is both identified on the site and listed on the AAS vendors list.
To help you in your quest for the best pair of eclipse glasses, we put together a small selection of good ones you can easily buy. You can check them out below.
Lunt Solar Systems
You can purchase a pack of five Lunt Solar Systems eclipse glasses for $12.99 on Amazon right now, or you can head over to its website where you can get them for the same price. And as an added bonus, they also offer kids sizes.
Astronomy for Equity
In addition to offering AAS-approved eclipse glasses, Astronomy for Equity also supports a good cause. The association works to promote STEM education programs in marginalized, isolated, and underserved communities, and it does so through astronomy as well. You can purchase eclipse glasses and therefore support the association's cause on Astronomy for Equity's website, where you can get 10 glasses for a total of $19.
Eclipse for a Cause
For larger glasses bundles, you can consider Eclipse for a Cause's eclipse glasses, which are primarily targeted to schools and districts. Not only does the company sell large quantities (up to 3,000-pack bundles!) for pretty cheap, but it also offers a very valid initiative. For every pair of glasses purchased, it donates a pair.
Soluna's eclipse glasses are widely available on Amazon, and you can buy them for a good price. On Amazon, they retail for $18.99 for a 10-pack as of this writing, and they come with a pretty cool design as well. Alternatively, you can also buy them on the company's website.
To take a look at other options, you can scroll through the entire list of AAS-approved vendors, which you can find on this website.