On August 21, the United States will witness a total solar eclipse, the first for almost 99 years. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see anything like it ever again. Suffice to say, America’s gone eclipse-crazy, with hotel rooms in the best viewing locations going for thousands of dollars a night.
But to observe the spectacle without frying your retinas, you need special filtered glasses that conform to the ISO 12312-2 safety standards.
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Unfortunately though, some folks are flogging ordinary shades and handheld viewers with labels falsely stating they conform to the standard. According to the American Astronomical Society, these “do not block enough of the Sun’s ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation to make them truly safe.”
Predictably, many of these were sold through Amazon, and the Seattle-based retail giant is taking action to recall them. KGW News, an NBC affiliate based in Portland, reported receiving an email from Amazon explaining the solar filters they purchased were “not confirmed safe for viewing.”
“We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse,” Amazon said.
Speaking to tech blog The Register, an Amazon spokesperson said that it decided to start the recall “out of an abundance of caution.”
The company didn’t mention the scale of the recall, whether the recall had been completed, or indeed, how it makes the determination that glasses are unsafe.