back to article Amazon recalls dodgy solar eclipse shades that offer no eye protection

Amazon has "proactively" recalled solar eclipse glasses that "may not comply with industry standards" before darkness descends on the US next week, August 21. To directly observe its awesome power without destroying their eyes, stargazers can use special filtered glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standards. But the …

  1. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Trollface

    Fake...

    Were they by any chance Trump-branded glasses ?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Fake...

      Are you asking if they were swastika-friendly? He's refused to say.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fake...

      Does every comment section have to be about Trump?

  2. Still Water

    Amazon appear to be very cautious here, though perhaps understandably so (eyesight and solar observation is not something to be taken lightly).

    There have been a lot of items recalled from manufacturers who make some of the best solar filters in the world (Thousand Oaks, Baader, etc), just because the AAS don't have the specific model listed or because the marketplace seller hasn't got the correct documentation. It does seem however that they've taken a blanket approach to it where a lot of the goods being sold are legitimate and from reputable retailers and manufacturers.

    1. albegadeep

      Counterfeits!

      Some of the glasses are listed as being made by legitimate manufacturers, and have their logos and ISO cert info on them - but are counterfeit, and possibly dangerous.

      https://qz.com/1040159/solar-eclipse-glasses-for-sale-on-amazon-may-not-meet-nasa-safety-recommendations/

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Counterfeits!

        These would be the ones printed with "Made in Mexico for Trump, Inc - Making America Great Again!"?

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Counterfeits!

          Trump-branded merchandise is invariably made in China. Those are couterfeit counterfeits!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Baader Astro film

      is my preferred method of solar gazing.

      Is extremely safe, provides proper colour rendition (unlike unsafe Mylar filters) and lasts essentially for ever. Its on my spare celestron dust cap and allowed me to get some excellent shots of mercury transiting the sun.

  3. clayusmcret

    Missing from the article is the list of glasses (and companies) sold on Amazon that were declared faulty.

    1. Still Water

      There aren't declared faulty at all, just that Amazon can't confirm they are conformant to the relevant ISO...(for whatever reason)

  4. clayusmcret

    Missing from the article is the list of products (companies) who sold faulty glasses on Amazon.

  5. samzeman

    I did some research on this back in 2016 - I wanna just look right at the sun without needing the excuse of an eclipse to do it. It turns out, an awful lot of manufacturers are taking a while to catch up with ISO 12312-2 since it's relatively recent, and a lot of them say the previous standard which I forget the name of is okay by itself.

    Boo to them. If I hadn't done my own research and found out which standard was required, it would have been perfectly easy to look at a legit seeming website selling eclipse goggles, see all the numbers, and assume that must surely be the legal standard. These businesses don't realise with this it's not entirely about profit. It's about retinal scarring.

    1. sitta_europea

      "These businesses don't realise with this it's not entirely about profit. ..."

      Er, no, you have that wrong.

      YOU don't realize that this IS entirely about profit. THEY don't give a fuck.

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Don't look at the sun kids...

    I'm sure these standards are fine, but the basic lesson I learned many years ago was "Do not look directly at the sun" through sunglasses, smoked glass, filters or whatever. Things can go wrong - the wind blows the glasses off. Always view an eclipse or the full sun indirectly, by projection.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Don't look at the sun kids...

      "Always view an eclipse or the full sun indirectly, by projection."

      That way all that can happen is you set fire to the house or give the person in the next room a nasty neutrino burn.

  7. hatti

    returns dept

    I'm sending mine back, just as soon as I can feel the receipt.

    1. Stevie Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: returns dept

      The lady sitting across from me wants to know where to send her cleaning bill, you stupid sod.

  8. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So, just squinting is a no-no?

    I'd better take down my Official Stevie Solar Eclipse Viewer's Guide On The Cheap website tootsweet then.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some pun about Amazon eclipsing the blazing sue ball before anyone saw it....

  10. Velv Silver badge
    Coat

    Americans are also advised to hang on to their eclipse glasses after the 21st. They'll need them to watch the nuclear explosions safely

  11. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    Mirrors

    Here's a nice technique that worked for a partial eclipse, I don't know how it would be for a total one.

    Get a rear view mirror out of a dumped car, including the swivel bracket if possible. Snap open some disposable razors and get four blades. Use masking tape to stick the blades (sharp side inwards) onto the mirror so that you leave a small diamond shaped portion of mirror exposed. (about 1/4 inch across) Mask off the rest of the mirror.

    The idea is to reflect the eclipse though an open window onto a white wall. Ideally you need a North facing window and all other openings with the blinds down. So bang a wooden post into the ground about 25 feet from the window and screw the mirror bracket onto it. You can then swivel the mirror to get the projection through the window. The image of the Sun will be about 18 inches across and looks cool. No safety glasses needed!

    1. BoldMan

      Re: Mirrors

      Even easier it to take a mirror from the bathroom medicine cabinet and wrap it in paper but cut a circular hole in the paper. You can than hold the mirror (or attach it to a stand of some sort if you are a lazy sod) and reflect an image of the sun onto an appropriate surface.

      1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Mirrors @Boldman

        For some reason that I don't fully understand the sharp edges of the "hole" are important. I'm guessing that your method would have a slightly fuzzy projection. In the Bradford (UK) museum of photography I've seen the world's largest "pinhole" photograph. It was taken by masking off an outward looking corridor and exposing the film on the opposite wall. The "pinhole" was four razor blades taped to the window arranged in the diamond shape that I mentioned. The shutter was a cardboard flap. Hopefully an expert will enlighten us.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mirrors @Boldman

          Easy. Those razor blades (which must be new) cut incoming photons in half. That way you get less light coming through, and all the photons have sharp edges. You have to renew the razor blades every so often because they eventually go blunt.

          OK, WTF did you just put in my drink?

  12. JCF2009

    Now what?

    I ordered three sets of eclipse viewing filters months ago, and now just last week I hear from Amazon that they might not be effective. Yet it's too late to re-order replacement viewing glasses (lead times are beyond Eclipse Day).

    Frustratingly, the filters I have may or may not be effective. The packaging is in Japanese although it also bears the "Made in China" imprint. I've checked the certification markings on the web, and everything looks good EXCEPT for the possibility that it's all counterfeit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now what?

      baader astro film, cut to size.

      Job done!!!!

  13. sciencemeetsmagic

    Amazon Abuse of Genuine Sellers

    We have IS012312-2 2015, our products has been purchased by the BBC and shown on their website as to how to look at the sun safely. And yet, our products have been taken off sale and our customers sent warnings with hundreds returning the product and been given refunds. This is not the right way to treat suppliers or customers.

    1. sitta_europea

      Re: Amazon Abuse of Genuine Sellers

      "This is not the right way to treat suppliers or customers."

      Er, why are you telling me?

  14. DougS Silver badge

    I received a notice

    I bought ones coming from a company that was listed everywhere as being one of the trusted ones, and it wasn't fulfilled by a third party. Now I'm not sure if I should use these or not, but it is probably too late to get other ones in time unless I got to a store - and if buying a reputable brand from Amazon isn't good enough, how would I tell which ones to get at Walmart, for instance?

    I think I'm going to go with my original plan - not looking at the sun through the glasses for more than a couple seconds at a time just in case, and being mostly interested in looking at the fully eclipsed sun without glasses. I've seen partials before - without glasses I might add - so that's not really something I care about. I want to see the full eclipse and see the corona and stars! You don't wear the glasses for that part anyway.

    Of course that assumes it isn't going to be cloudy. No point in driving a few hours Monday morning if that's the going to happen, so we're kind of playing it by ear. At least if I don't get to see the eclipse I've been refunded for the glasses. I wonder who is eating the cost, Amazon or the manufacturer? I think I know the answer to that one...I forsee a future article about companies suing Amazon appearing on El Reg later this year!

    Hopefully we won't read about a lot of emergency room visits the next day from people who have seriously damaged their vision, and all this worry is over nothing.

  15. MrZoolook
    Facepalm

    Just a thought...

    One wonders how previous occupiers of Starship Earth viewed eclipses before without their eyes melting, or whatever.

  16. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Nice picture with the article!

    You needed to wait a couple more seconds, but still nice!

  17. hellwig Silver badge

    Too late Amazon

    I got the notice, but I had already looked at the Sun, can I still sue? Of course, all they say is they didn't get any documentation from the seller, NOT that your glasses are actually defective. I went with ones with an American flag on them. I think Chinese law prohibits cheaping out on products with an American flag on them.

    My shades seem OK. I can't see anything through them but the sun. Last time I got the chance at an eclipse was in middle-school. But the clouds ruined the experience. I bought the shades through the school that time, and oddly enough, sometime later, I was able to see even normal house-lights through them. Do they just go bad over time? Or were the standards just so lax in the 90's?

    Anyway, Amazon is only listing a few products now (and some unrelated products, maybe fix your search Amazon). And of course the prices have sky-rocketed to $5-$10 a piece or more. Almost seems like this was intentional, refunding the $5 you spent on a pack of 10, and telling you you better buy a new pack of 10 for $99 or you'll burn your eyes out.

  18. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Boffin

    used to have a flatmate who was an optometrist

    .. back in my distant yoof..

    He once said that following a solar eclipse he could see the image burnt into the back of peoples eyeballs...

  19. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Interestingly the prospect of sub-standard specs deterred me from buying any through Amazon, so I went to The Science Museum online shop to see if they stocked them, assuming they'd source them from somewhere reputable,.... but they didn't have any. Missed opportunity there I think.

  20. sitta_europea

    The real safe answer is a welding filter, EW14.

    Cheap as chips, don't degrade.

    Don't try to use gas welding filters, they aren't dense enough.

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