It's a coming: the solar eclipse with its celestial majesty, mystery, monster traffic and need for proper eyeware. Yep, if you have plans to watch the eclipse, you need special glasses otherwise your eyes may suffer mightily--as in, you could go blind if you watch with inadequate protection. Not all eclipse glasses being marketed are equal in terms of their protective value. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just issued a consumer alert about which glasses to buy (because they're certified) and which to avoid by all means.
According to the FTC, "The certification means the glasses and solar viewers have met an international safety standard and are safe for your eyes. Only consider products marked with ISO 12312-2, which means that the product has met the international safety standard."
The American Astronomical Society, with its comprehensive website on the eclipse, says only five manufacturers meet the standard for this certification:
- American Paper Optics
- Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only)
- Rainbow Symphony
- Thousand Oaks Optical
- TSE 17
Enjoy this cosmic spectacle, and keep in mind that you'll join legions of fellow witnesses stretching back thousands of years, including the person who wrote this:
One of the earliest written records of an eclipse of the Sun, on 3 May 1375 BC, found in the city of Ugarit in Mesopotamia.