How To Buy Safe Solar Eclipse Glasses Online And On Amazon—And Soon – Forbes

People look at the partial solar eclipse in Glendale, California on August 21, 2017. During a solar … [+] eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, appearing to block the sun.(Photo by: Ronen Tivony) (Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Type the phrase “solar eclipse glasses” into any search engine or online store, and you will see hundreds of results. In advance of the total solar eclipse across North America on April 8, the market for solar eclipse glasses—which only cost about $3 each (but can sometimes be found for free)–is booming.
Amid fears of impending shortages, concerns remain among consumers about whether safe solar eclipse glasses can be reliably bought online.
The worry is rooted in the period just before the last total solar eclipse to occur across the U.S. on August 21, 2017, when Amazon issued refunds to customers who purchased solar eclipse glasses that may not have complied with industry standards. That’s the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard in this case. It was a response to suppliers being unable to confirm that the products they were reselling came from an approved manufacturer.
In an attempt to prevent a repeat of that situation—and knowing that April 8’s total solar eclipse was coming to North America less than seven years later—Dr. Rick Fienberg at the American Astronomical Society and colleagues physically checked 43 different solar eclipse glasses and published a paper. One result, some years later, is Fienberg’s constantly updated list of the AAS Suppliers of Safe Solar Filters & Viewers, which have all been vetted as either manufacturing or selling ISO-compliant safe eclipse glasses and/or handheld viewers.
The AAS list is what to use whenever you buy eclipse glasses online. “The easiest way to buy safe solar eclipse glasses is to follow one of the links from our list,” said Fienberg. Each of the vetted companies has a clickthrough link on the page. “If you search online, including on Amazon, look at the source—if it’s on our list, you’re good to go,” said Fienberg. A quick search on Amazon reveals several brands, almost all of which also appear on the AAS list, which suggests that it’s working well.
“The customer has to do some work because type in ‘eclipse viewers’ into Amazon and a lot is going to come up,” said Pat Steele, owner of Kingman, Arizona-based Thousand Oaks Optical, which manufactures the all-important silver-black polymer film used by the makers of cardboard solar eclipse glasses in the U.S. “People need to make sure they’re on the approved vendor list.”
The AAS website states: “We do not recommend searching for eclipse glasses on Amazon, eBay, Temu, or any other online marketplace and buying from whichever vendor offers the lowest price.”
Amazon confirmed to me in an email that since 2017 it has implemented new controls to ensure compliance and that solar eclipse glasses in the Amazon store must be ISO 12312-2 compliant and sourced from the recommended list of companies and organizations designated by the AAS. If a noncompliant product goes undetected by its automated checks, the company addresses the issue immediately and it is removed, confirmed Amazon.
Steele’s advice is to use a reputable supplier on the AAS list and buy directly from them. “Amazon is in the business of selling as much as it can and I know it tries to do some policing, but it’s hard to avoid the fakes and the companies that may not have the reputation and experience,” he said.
The AAS list is designed to appeal to North American buyers, with sections for authorized dealers of products made in North America or Germany (58 at last count) and large retail chains in North America, but it also has a section dedicated to solar filters for telescopes, cameras and binoculars, and companies selling ISO-compliant products—including eclipse glasses—manufactured from China.
It’s vital to ensure that the glasses you purchase are from reputable sources on the AAS list to “avoid potential harm and legal liabilities,” said Jo Trizila, founder and CEO of TrizCom PR & Pitch PR, who runs Total Eclipse DFW. “Just because they say they are safe doesn’t mean they are.”
For the latest on all aspects of April 8’s total solar eclipse in North America, check my main feed for new articles each day.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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