Still need solar eclipse glasses? Make sure they're legit

Demand for solar eclipse glasses is so high, scammers are making counterfeits.
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Demand for solar eclipse glasses is so high, scammers are making counterfeits.
By

Local

Eclipse glasses are sold out in Charlotte. But safe options are still available.

August 15, 2017 12:14 PM

If you don’t already have trustworthy eclipse glasses, your chances of finding them in the Charlotte area are fading as fast as the sun will next Monday.

Calls Tuesday to a sampling of Lowe’s, Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us stores found none available or expected.

Amazon, which last weekend notified some buyers it couldn’t vouch for the safety of the glasses it sold them, still offers certified models but listed prices are as much as $160 for package of 10.

Shop Science at Discovery Place Science in uptown Charlotte will put its last shipment of 1,000 glasses on sale at noon Thursday, said spokeswoman Kaitlin Rogers. They’ll be sold for $4.99 a pair on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Guests at Discovery Place Science’s viewing party will get glasses, but the ticketed event is sold out. A free, casual viewing event in the parking lot of Discovery Place Nature doesn’t include glasses. The museum is closed on Mondays but will offer some planetarium shows on the eclipse, and restrooms will be open.

Some public libraries will have glasses available at viewing parties. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library warns that branches hosting parties will not distribute glasses to the general public. A small numbers of glasses will be available for eclipse programs at those branches but will be limited to one pair per family.

The American Astronomical Society offers a couple of safe alternatives to viewing the eclipse through filters – projecting the sun’s image through a small hole or using a telescope or binoculars to project the image onto a viewing surface.

Discovery Place offers instructions for making a pinhole projector out of a cereal box.

Experts warn that eclipse viewers should never try to make do with ordinary sunglasses – retinal damage can result.

And with counterfeit glasses circulating, the AAS offers this advice on how to tell whether your eclipse glasses are safe: You shouldn’t be able to see anything through a safe solar filter other than the sun or something just as bright, the society says, and even that should appear dim. The sun viewed through reliable filters should look about as bright as a full moon, be in focus and appear surrounded by a dark sky.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender