The Great American Eclipse of 2017 is almost here and certified solar glasses are almost sold out. I'll be heading down to South Carolina along with AccuWeather's Reed Timmer to cover the eclipse. About a month ago, I ordered a 5-pack of "Solar Glasses for the Great American Total Eclipse 2017 (5 Pack) - CE & ISO Certified" on Amazon, which I thought I found via a reputable scientific website. Today I was disappointed to receive this email:
"We’re writing to provide you with important safety information about the eclipse products you purchased on Amazon (order for Solar Glasses for the Great American Total Eclipse 2017 (5 Pack) - CE & ISO Certified - Includes Commemorative Poster & Kids Coloring Pages w/ Crayons). To protect your eyes when viewing the sun or an eclipse, NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) advise you to use solar eclipse glasses or other solar filters from recommended manufacturers. Viewing the sun or an eclipse using any other glasses or filters could result in loss of vision or permanent blindness. Amazon has not received confirmation from the supplier of your order that they sourced the item from a recommended manufacturer. We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse. Amazon is applying a balance for the purchase price to Your Account (please allow 7-10 days for this to appear on Your Account). There is no need for you to return the product."
The product, and the seller, have been removed from Amazon. Note that they aren't 100% sure that these glasses or dangerous, they just had not received information from the vendor quoting an officially certified manufacturer, but why take the chance? Your eyes don't have pain receptors, so you won't know if you're burning them.
If you also got this notice, or didn't order eclipse sunglasses from the list of NASA/AAS-endorsed companies yet, there's still time to get glasses before the eclipse, but time is running out. Almost every company listed on that page is sold out (even the ones that don't say sold out). Almost every vendor that hasn't sold out is only selling large quantities (50-500) or has jacked up their prices to $50 or more for a few eclipse glasses, or can't be back in stock or ship for several weeks.
Here are my recommendations if you still need to get eclipse glasses before August 21st:
- Scientifics, formerly known as Edmund Scientific, is a trustworthy vendor, even though they are not listed on the NASA-endorsed company list. They have been in business for 75 years and have long-been selling quality astronomy gadgets and optics. They are still selling eclipse glasses for $5 each for $7. Your total will be $12, which isn't a great deal but you should have them in time. NOTE: Even though I believe in this company, because they aren't on the NASA list, I can't be liable for damage done by these. They also have a solar filter for cameras for only $20 (*which are also getting hard to find).
- B&H Photo in NYC is also selling eclipse glasses online, a 5-pack for $12 with shipping for $4 (deliver time unknown), but they are closed until 9:15 PM ET Saturday night for Shabbat.
- Wal-Mart and a few other stores may be selling eclipse glasses in areas close to totality but they may have sold out already, and I haven't seen any locally, so that may not stretch as far north as Pennsylvania. If they are selling them in your area, grab them now. They are sold out online.
- Many local libraries are handing out glasses on the day of the eclipse, possibly before, so check out that possibility.
- Official NASA event locations should have them the day of the eclipse.
- Poke around more on the e list of NASA/AAS-endorsed companies and leave a comment here if you find a good vendor that still has them in stock for a reasonable price, and can deliver on time.