Testing the Quality of Eclipse Glasses: Ensuring Safe Skywatching
Eclipse glasses are an essential tool for safely observing solar eclipses, allowing us to witness the awe-inspiring celestial event without harming our eyes. However, not all eclipse glasses are created equal, and ensuring their quality is crucial to avoid potential eye damage. Here's how to test the quality of eclipse glasses before the next eclipse event.
Unless you have access to proper testing equipment, which if you're reading this you likely do not, performing your own ISO testing of eclipse glasses or solar viewers is either impossible or cost prohibitive. We have had our glasses and viewers tested in 3 different facilities to ensure safety. We have the test documentation available upon request for review. We have submitted that documentation to Amazon to certify our eligibility to meet their product safety requirements.
So what can YOU do as an individual consumer to ensure the safety and quality of your eclipse glasses and solar viewers?
1. **Check for Certification:** Look for the ISO 12312-2 certification label on the glasses. This standard ensures that the glasses meet the safety requirements for directly viewing the sun. Avoid glasses without this certification.
2. **Inspect the Lenses:** Examine the lenses for any scratches, punctures, or dents. Even minor damage can compromise their ability to protect your eyes. If you notice any defects, discard the glasses.
3. **Uniform Darkness:** Put on the glasses and look around. If the lenses allow any visible light, except for the sun, they might not provide adequate protection. The lenses should be uniformly dark, without any distortions.
4. **No Pinholes:** When wearing the glasses, if you see any pinhole-sized dots of light, they could indicate manufacturing defects. Replace these glasses with a reliable pair.
5. **Unmodified Glasses:** Ensure the glasses are in their original condition and haven't been altered or tampered with. Homemade filters or modifications might not provide sufficient protection.
6. **Consult Reputable Sources:** Purchase eclipse glasses from reputable vendors, science centers, or observatories. Be cautious when buying online, as counterfeit or unsafe glasses could be sold.
7. **Test Before the Eclipse:** Before the eclipse event, test the glasses on a bright object like the sun on a regular day. If the glasses do not make the sun appear dim and comfortable to look at, do not use them during the eclipse.
By taking these precautions and ensuring the quality of your eclipse glasses, you can experience the wonder of a solar eclipse safely and protect your eyes from potential harm.