Update: The Federal Trade Commission has released a statement with safety guidlines for solar viewing glasses. 

Advertisementyou're planning to view the 
total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, make sure you've got the right safety gear.

Phony eclipse glasses are currently flooding the marketplace, according to the American Astronomical Society (AAS). This counterfeit equipment falsely claims to meet the international standard for safe solar viewing, which is known as ISO 12312-2 (also written as ISO 12312-2:2015). 

So how do you know that your eclipse glasses or handheld viewers are safe? You can't really check them yourself; doing so requires pretty high-tech lab equipment. But the AAS has done such legwork for you and identified a number of reputable suppliers, including (but not limited to) American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Celestron and Daystar. You can also trust the businesses and other organizations that sell gear made by these companies, AAS representatives said. (There are many such retailers, including Wal-Mart, Lowes and Toys R Us.) [The Best ISO-Certified Gear to See the 2017 Solar Eclipse]

Eclipse Glasses by American Paper Optics
On Amazon

You can check out the AAS' full list of trustworthy suppliers and vendors here. NASA also has information about eclipse glasses and safe solar viewing; find it here.

Also, if you haven't already gotten your viewing gear, you probably want to do so. It's late enough in the game that some online stores can't guarantee delivery until after Aug. 21. (But you can buy glasses or viewers in person, at one of the approved retailers listed by the AAS.)

Reminder: You need such specialized gear to view the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun; run-of-the-mill sunglasses, even extra-dark ones, won't cut it. If you look at the sun without certified safety equipment, serious and permanent eye damage can result. (It is safe to look at the totally eclipsed sun with the naked eye. But you still need to exercise care; totality lasts just a few minutes, so make sure you get the timing right.)

Even if your eclipse glasses are certified, you shouldn't use them if their lenses are damaged or not securely fastened to their frames, AAS representatives stressed. (Also, never use glasses or handheld viewers with binoculars or telescopes; such instruments require special filters for safe solar observing.)

It's not a big surprise that counterfeit equipment has come on the scene, considering the buzz surrounding the Aug. 21 event — it's the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States mainland since 1979.

On Aug. 21, the moon will completely blot out the solar disk in 14 states, from Oregon to South Carolina. The "path of totality" will be just 70 miles wide (113 kilometers) or so; the rest of North America will be treated to a partial eclipse, as will parts of South America, Europe and Africa.

About 200 million people live within a day's drive of the path of totality, according to Space.com skywatching columnist Joe Rao. But even people who don't make the trip will still be able to witness the event online, thanks to webcasts planned by a variety of organizations. And if the Aug. 21 event somehow passes you by, don’t fret: Another total solar eclipse is coming to the U.S. mainland on April 8, 2024.

Editor's note: Space.com has teamed up with Simulation Curriculum to offer this awesome Eclipse Safari app to help you enjoy your eclipse experience. The free app is available for Apple and Android, and you can view it on the web. If you take an amazing photo of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, let us know! Send photos and comments to: spacephotos@space.com.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.



Been crazy busy the last four days with seven trips during that time. Spending that much time on the bay, during many tide cycles, you kind of get the pulse of the ebb and the flood. So much, that you don’t even need to look at a tide app. All you need to do is to pay attention to nature’s subtle cues and sync your clock to hers. Having fished in Florida many times years ago I started subscribing the to the Florida Sportsman magazine. Even though it was geared to fishing another State, dah that’s obvious, you glean information from the articles and apply them to your area. One resonating theme was the benefits of live bait. Sometimes in Florida, you do not even start fishing until you “make bait”. Now, having long subscribed to that theme, I do what it takes to make bait. And sometimes the rewards from those benefits are reaped to the extreme. Case in point Tuesday’s magic hour trip with Michael Petruzziello. Before we started fishing I had him and his friend Dianne make bait in the form of snappers for the last part of the trip when the tide would be perfect. Coming across what was literally and acre + of snappers blitzing we quickly put a good dozen in the Debbie M’s live well. After messing around with some adult bluefish around the inlet we switched over to fluke fishing. In doing so, and I kid you not, I said to Michael “I just have this weird feeling we are going to be able to catch a really nice fluke tonight”. With two live snappers unhappily sent to the bottom, I positioned the boat so that the lines were in the correct drift. Shortly thereafter, Michael, “I think I have a fish or I am stuck on bottom”. To which I replied, “you have a FISH”. With the St Croix rod doing double duty, I knew immediately he was battling flukezilla. When we got first glimpse of the denizen from the deep I instructed Michael, not the take the fishes’ head out of the water and work with me to get it to the net. I’m not sure if my first try with the net was a big miss or fluekzilla saw the net and dove down 10 feet. None the less, on the second pass the beast was in the net and we welcomed it aboard the Debbie M. Taped out at 30” and coming in at 10 lbs. 2 oz. it was a true doormat. This is the second doormat I have put a client on in the last three years. The last one was 11.5 pounds and fell to a live 8” peanut bunker. There’s something to be said about making bait.

Screaming drags, Capt Alex 609-548-2511

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