(FOX40.COM) — On Saturday, much of the western United States will experience some part of an annular solar eclipse, but it is important to know how to view it safely in order to enjoy the experience and keep your eyesight after the eclipse is complete.
Unlike total solar eclipses, it is never safe to remove your eyewear during a Partial or Annular Solar Eclipse.
NASA says that no matter how dark your sunglasses are they are not safe to use as a way to view an annular solar eclipse and that “eclipse glasses” that comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard are the safest viewing glasses.
Following an incident in 2017 where a company selling “eclipse glasses” was found to be selling counterfeit glasses that were not properly tested, NASA created a list of approved manufacturers.
Buying Eclipse Glasses
There are a lot of options when buying “eclipse glasses”, but there can be differences in build quality, style and cost that might help determine what to get.
American Paper Optics
Starting with the lower budget options is the American Paper Optics Solar Eclipse Safety Glasses at the price of $1 for a single pair.
These glasses use scratch-resistant black/silver polymer lenses that filter out all harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays.
During the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse American Paper Optics sold 50 million pairs of their glasses.
There are many other companies that sell paper solar eclipse glasses ranging in price from $1 to $4 for a single pair.
The more you bundle though, the cheaper they get.
If you want to get an up-close look at the celestial event without needing a telescope, at $12.95 the Eclipsmart 2X Power Viewers Solar Eclipse Viewing Kit provides a two-times zoom into the eclipse.
The kit comes with two sets of magnified glasses made of cardstock that fold flat when not in use. An eclipse poster is also included to provide a detailed map of the eclipse’s path.
The film lenses used by Eclipsmart are produced by American Paper Optics and are independently tested by a third-party lab for safety.
One of the downsides to the glasses is that you will have to hold them up to your face as they handle more like binoculars than glasses.
If you plan to use these glasses again for the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse that will make its way across North America then getting something a little bit sturdier than paper or cardstock might be worth it.
The Rainbow Symphony Plastic Solar Eclipse Glasses have a sturdier wrap-around design that does not allow for light to leak into the sides of the glasses.
For $20 you will get the wrap-around glasses, a cloth case and two paper solar eclipse glasses.
Phillips Solar Eclipse Glasses
If you are planning to view the sun more often than during solar eclipses and need something that will last for several years the Philips Solar Eclipse Glasses might be the best option.
At first glance, these glasses may appear to look like your regular pair of Ray Ban Wayfarer knock-offs, but the lenses are what make them ideal for solar eclipse viewing.
Shade 14 glass green lenses and pure black frames block 99% of ultraviolet, 97% of Infrared radiation and only transmit about .0003% of visible light.
These glasses also come with removable side shields that protect your peripheral vision from any of the solar eclipse’s light.
Do It Yourself Solar Eclipse Viewer
You can also build a device from simple home craft materials to indirectly watch the eclipse.
The National Geographic Society has a set of instructions for building a viewer made from materials such as cardboard tubes and aluminum foil.
Viewers allow users to watch the eclipse via a representation of light and shadow on paper rather than look directly at the event.