How to spot fake solar eclipse viewing glasses

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s now less than a week from the first total solar eclipse across the U.S. in 38 years. Experts warned to watch out for fake solar eclipse glasses.

“It’s really a case by case thing and the only thing that you can really do to be sure is to make sure you know where your source was, where you bought it from,” said Brian Baker, director of astronomy at A Time For Science in Grifton.

But what if you don’t know where yours came from? There are some other things you can look for.

“You should definitely not see any little pinholes or any kind of unevenness of the distribution of the light that is flowing through it,” said Baker. “You shouldn’t see anything else. Just normal house lights shouldn’t shine through it either. That’s another test you can try.”

Real or fake, it’s getting harder and harder to find eclipse glasses. At the A Time For Science location in Greenville, they are completely sold out. They’re hoping to get a limited supply back in stock to be able to sell Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. Whether or not you get a pair of eclipse glasses, you can still safely enjoy eclipse day in other ways.

“At our event we’ll have two solar telescopes with filters on them that will allow us to view the sun in greater detail,” said Baker, referring to the eclipse viewing party the group is hosting at their Grifton location. “There’s all sorts of very easy crafts or little devices you can make out of cereal boxes or shoe boxes where you can view a projection of the eclipse.”

Baker said now, it’s probably not worth it to try buy online. You may end up with a fake and a trusted source likely won’t be able to ship them to you in time for eclipse day.

There are a few locations in the East that will have eclipse glasses before the solar eclipse:

  • A Time For Science (formerly Go-Science) is selling eclipse glasses at their Greenville location at 729 Dickinson Ave for $5 each Friday, August 18 at 10:00 a.m. Supplies are extremely limited and there is a limit of 2 glasses per person.
  • The New Bern-Craven County Public Library is giving free solar eclipse glasses to anyone who attends an event featuring Physics and Astronomy Instructor Jason Perry from Lenoir Community College on Thursday, August 17 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. as he discusses the August 21st solar eclipse and explains how to watch it safely. There is a limit of 1 pair of glasses per family.
  • The Onslow County Public Library is giving out free solar eclipse glasses at all four of their branches (Jacksonville, Swansboro, Sneads Ferry, and Richlands) on Monday, August 21 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

For a list of trusted solar eclipse glasses vendors from the American Astonomical Society, click here.

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