Richland County said on Tuesday that the eclipse glasses they have handed out meet the standards for safety set by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) of the National Science Foundation.
Concerns were raised after the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce determined that glasses it distributed for eclipse viewing did not meet the safety standard set by NASA, prompting the recall and replacement of thousands of eclipse glasses.
The glasses handed out by Richland County do have the ISO certification reference number 12312-2, the safety standard for eclipse glasses set by NASA.
Richland County ordered 10,000 pair to be printed with the county seal and logo. The glasses, however, were “not approved by NASA,” the county admitted. They were made by a company that was reviewed by the AAS and meet the AAS standard for safety, however.
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If you are concerned that glasses you have received do not meet safety standards, these simple rules - as spelled out by the American Astronomical Society - will let you know.
- You shouldn't be able to see anything through a safe solar filter except the Sun itself or something comparably bright, such as the Sun reflected in a mirror, a sunglint off shiny metal, the hot filament of an unfrosted incandescent light bulb, a bright halogen light bulb, a bright-white LED bulb (including the flashlight on your smartphone), a bare compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb, or an arc-welding torch. All such sources (except perhaps the welding torch) should appear quite dim through a solar viewer.
- If you can see shaded lamps or other common household light fixtures (not bare bulbs) of more ordinary brightness through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, and you're not sure the product came from a reputable vendor, it’s no good.
- Safe solar filters produce a view of the Sun that is comfortably bright (like the full Moon), in focus, and surrounded by dark sky. If you glance at the Sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus, and/or surrounded by a bright haze, it’s no good.