Home / Tech News / Don’t roast your retinas! Here are the best solar eclipse glasses on the market

Don’t roast your retinas! Here are the best solar eclipse glasses on the market

Unless you’ve been  in the dark the past few months, you’ve probably heard about the total solar eclipse headed our way. On August 21, a solar eclipse will be visible across North America, and individuals along a nearly 70-mile-wide stretch of land — known as “path of totality” — will be able to gaze upon a total solar eclipse for nearly three minutes.

As the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, our star will be momentarily blotted out of the sky, with only the star’s outer atmosphere clearly visible to onlookers. As one can imagine, however, peering directly at the sun can cause irreparable damage to your eyes (even during the eclipse). Thankfully, the best solar eclipse glasses on the market can protect your eyes during the astronomical event.

To prevent optical injury (temporary or permanent) NASA recently released a catalog of safety information to consider before viewing the eclipse. The agency recommends using glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for solar eclipse optics. Sadly, not all sunglasses claiming to be eclipse-certified meet these rigorous safety standards. The manufacturers listed below are currently producing solar eclipse sunglasses and handheld solar viewers that have been approved by NASA’s partner, the American Astronomical Society, to meet the international standard.

In the coming the weeks, nearly 5,000 libraries and other organizations across the country will be distributing 2,000,000 solar eclipse sunglasses. However, with nearly 100 million humans living within 200 miles of the path of totality, and troves of so-called “eclipse chasers” around the country already on the move for the event, there may not be enough free shades for everyone. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the better offering on the market, which you can peruse below.

If you need to whet your astronomical whistle in the weeks prior to the eclipse, feel free to feast your eyes on our list of the best space photos or maybe take a virtual tour of the International Space Station. NASA will also stream a live event called Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA, for individuals who would prefer to enjoy coverage of the celestial event indoors.

Eclipser HD Solar Glasses ($15)

solar eclipse sunglasses

Some individuals may prefer a cheap, disposable set of solar eclipse sunglasses for the upcoming event. However, other eclipse chasers and astronomically-minded enthusiasts may prefer to shell out a little more cash for a sturdier model that can be used for future viewings. With that in mind, the Eclipser HD Solar model utilizes a rather inconspicuous standard build for added comfort and modest styling for more invested stargazers. The Eclipser HD also comes with a sweet swag bag for stowing your shades between eclipses.

Buy one now from:

Eclipse Glasses

Rainbow Symphony Wrap Around Goggles ($20)

rainbow symphony eclipse glasses

Rainbow Symphony is another company on the American Astronomical Society’s list of ISO-certified manufacturers. Like the aforementioned Eclipser HD, the casual eclipse viewer may not be looking for a durable, long-term model. However, with a wrap-around build, these flexible sunglasses will fit snuggly without slipping, allowing you to peer upward during the forthcoming cosmic crossing. The extra-wide temple also helps shield your eyes, and the high nose bridge further minimizes the risk of potentially-damaging “light leaks.”

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Rainbow Symphony

Special Eclipse Glasses – All American ($7 for five)

TSE17 solar eclipse sunglasses

It wouldn’t be a regular American outing if it couldn’t be accessorized with all things red, white, and blue. Thankfully, TSE17 has a star-spangled set of solar eclipse shades for those so inclined. Unlike some of the aforementioned plastic models, the All-American set can be purchased for a group of five for under $10. The company also offers deals when individuals buy in bulk, making this model ideal for classrooms and larger groups. Don’t forget your matching, oversized American flag neckerchief.

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Solar Viewer AstroSolar ($4)

astro solar eclipse sunglasses

The Baader Planetarium AstroSolar is another popular model on the market, and the disposable unit is also specifically recommended by the AAS. (It’s important to note that the AAS has only recommended the Baader Planetarium AstroSolar models featuring the silver and gold film.) This economic offering is available individually or in bundles of 10, 25, and 100. Baader Planetarium is also currently offering discounts for bulk purchases as an added bonus.

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Baader Planetarium

American Paper Products Eclipse Glasses 2017 ($31 for 25)

solar eclipse sunglasses

The American Paper Products disposable model is only sold in larger quantities, which may be of little use for individuals seeking an individual pair for the upcoming eclipse. However, those attempting to buy shades for a larger group, organization, or workplace will be hard pressed to top this offer, especially if one of the other manufacturers on this list is sold out in the weeks prior to the event. A set of 25 will cost $31, or you can simply re-up for the foreseeable future with 2,000 units at 60 cents a pop.

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Eclipse Glasses

Other things to consider…

  • NASA suggests people verify the authenticity of their eclipse sunglasses beforehand. This means making sure the manufacturers name and address is printed somewhere on the product.
  • The agency also recommends checking the certification number on the sunglasses to ensure the model meets ISO 12312-2 international standards.
  • Under no circumstances whatsoever should individuals use traditional, non-solar certified eyewear or sunglasses to view a full or partial solar eclipse.
  • NASA also suggests replacing your current solar sunglasses if the model has scratched and/or wrinkled lenses.
  • The agency also encourages individuals to replace solar eclipse sunglasses that are more than three year sold.
  • Oh, and be careful with all of those solar selfies, the rays can also damage your expensive camera accessories. Thankfully, there’s a lens to protect your hardware during the eclipse.

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