SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The need for Solar Eclipse glasses that protect the eyes of the millions who will be witnessing history on Aug. 21 has created business opportunities. As such, there are plenty of people looking to make a quick buck by selling fake glasses.


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The problem with these scams is that they can cause serious eye problems for those viewing the eclipse. NASA and the American Astronomical Society are alert to the fakes populating the glasses market and are doing their best to thwart scams.

“Everything was going along fine until the public started to wake up to the eclipse and started buying things that may or may not be safe,” said Rick Fienberg, an astronomer and press officer at the American Astronomical Society, via Quartz. “Now they are peppering us and NASA with questions.”

It’s unfortunate for the legitimate sellers on the market, who have been approved and are selling safe, helpful products.

“It’s all nonsense,” said Mark Margolis, of NASA-approved Rainbow Symphony. “There are a zillion companies putting out the same product and they all have different names. And this isn’t because I don’t want competition in the marketplace. We’re oversold and on backorder. It’s not my motive to keep competitors out of the market.”

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If you still need to buy yours, here are the five companies NASA recommends:

  • American Paper Optics
  • Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only)
  • Rainbow Symphony
  • Thousand Oaks Optical
  • TSE 17

The eclipse will be visible from most places in America, but only a limited portion of the country will experience the total eclipse.

NASA also issued the following additional tips:

  • Don’t reuse old glasses. Unsafe after 3 years
  • If lenses are scratched, don’t use
  • If lenses are wrinkled, not safe for viewing the eclipse

It’s unsafe to look at the sun for any amount of time as it can possibly be dangerous and lead to permanent damage. You should wear your glasses through the majority of the event, only taking them off when the moon completely blocks the sun.

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The eclipse will begin in Oregon at 9:05 a.m. and be complete by 10:18 a.m. In the Bay Area, the eclipse will be at 80 percent and span the same time frame.