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North America Total Solar Eclipse 2017: Tips for Safe Viewing

For millions across North America the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse is being anticipated with great enthusiasm. Eclipse hold special meaning to humans and have been observed with awe and in ancient times human sacrifice. Happily, for your everyday North American citizen no ritualistic exercises are on the schedule for this event. Many of us will be taking in the solar spectacle with wonderment and stiff necks.

Looking directly at the sun can have serious consequences resulting in vision damage to blindness. Fortunately, special glasses are available that when worn correctly prevent eye injury and make the solar eclipse experience a spectacular event to see.

NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) provide an extensive list of vendors and locations where ISO-compliant safe solar viewers are available. These glasses are tested to confirm they are dark enough to prevent visible, ultraviolet and infrared light from passing through the lens.

Sadly, there are individuals who value making money over anything else and offer counterfeit solar eclipse glasses that can lead to false security and expose you to dangerous light rays. Don’t fall victim to these unscrupulous low life’s who don’t care about your wellbeing.

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Instead of purchasing ISO approved solar glasses you may be able to obtain a free pair from your library. Over 6,800 libraries across the country are distributing safety-certified glasses for the Aug. 21 eclipse, with many collaborating with scientists to hold viewing events and activities before and during the event. Why not watch the eclipse with new friends? Checkout the AAS website for a list of participating libraries distributing ISO approved glasses.

AAS tips for buying safety glasses to see the Solar Eclipse:

• Buy only from the AAS’s approved list of ISO certified solar eclipse glasses.
• When buying from online retailers, stick to buying from the manufacturer, brand or distributor with their name on the AAS list.
• Test glasses for damages or scratches by holding a pair up to your car headlights at nighttime to ensure no light comes through.
• There could be a company selling what they claim are genuine glasses from the AAS list. The AAS says it’s safer to buy directly from the listed company or brand’s manufacturer whether than buying online or in person.
• Remember, only the sun or the reflection of the sun in a mirror should be seen through a pair of safe solar eclipse glasses. If you’re able to see something other than the sun, the glasses could be counterfeit.

May you enjoy this rare total solar eclipse safely. Here’s to looking up!