In order to view the total solar eclipse that’s passing over the U.S. on August 21, first you’ll have to make your way to the eclipse’s “path of totality,” a 70-mile-wide strip of land that stretches from South Carolina to Oregon. You’ll also need protective eyewear like ultra-dark “eclipse glasses” in order to protect your sensitive retinas from being burned to a crisp when the eclipse goes from full back to partial again. Just don’t buy whatever’s cheapest on Amazon, okay?
CNN Money reports today that the mega e-retailer is issuing refunds and removing listings for bogus eclipse glasses that were being sold on its website, “out of an abundance of caution.” In response, the American Astronomical Society has updated its safety guidelines, saying that customers should be skeptical even if glasses are stamped with an International Organization for Standardization seal. “It now appears that some companies are printing the ISO logo and certification label on fake eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers made with materials that do not block enough [light],” the organization says. It’s also put together a list of reputable eclipse-merch dealers, which include glasses sold at chain retailers 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Lowe’s, and Walmart.
If you’ve already bought a pair and aren’t sure of its efficacy, the AAS says to put them on and see if you can see anything besides the sun itself, according to CNN Money. If the answer is yes, chuck ‘em. (“If you can see lights of more ordinary brightness through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer … it’s no good,” the group says.) And for fuck’s sake, don’t view an eclipse through regular sunglasses, okay?