The Great American Solar Eclipse in 2017 was a stunning sight to witness and was viewed by millions of Americans. The next total solar eclipse to cross the entire U.S. is in 2024, however, will be several partial eclipses prior to 2024 which will be equally as impressive.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun. A partial eclipse means the moon passed in front of the sun but does not cover the sun completely. A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely covers the sun’s disk.
In order to view this celestial phenomenon sky watchers must wear safe solar eclipse glasses. Viewers must never look at the sun without eye protection or else the sun can damage the eye.
When purchasing safe solar eclipse glasses make sure the glasses comply with the ISO 12312-2 (or sometimes written as ISO 12312-2:2015) international safety standard for filters for direct viewing of the Sun. Glasses that meet this standard reduce visible sunlight to safe levels and block solar UV and IR radiation.
The ISO standard and logo are typically printed on the inside of the earpiece.
Real or Counterfeit?
There are many counterfeit solar eclipse eyewear on the market. The average person will not be able to determine if they purchased legitimate, safe solar eclipse glasses without expensive equipment. That is why the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force worked to create a list of approved reputable retailers of solar filters and glasses. The task force examined the vendor’s products to ensure their product is ISO compliant.
Purchasing and wearing safe solar eclipse glasses while viewing a total or partial eclipse is the only safe way to look straight at the sun and protect the eyes from sun damage.