What to know about fake eclipse glasses

FILE-People view the partial solar eclipse from Times Square August 21, 2017 in New York. (Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

With the solar eclipse coming up in April, consumers are stocking up on eclipse glasses to enjoy the visual spectacle.

But fake versions of the glasses are circulating on some online websites, causing alarm for many.

Online retailers like Amazon sell thousands of eclipse glasses and have a policy in place to ensure these products like their merchandise are authentic and meet industry standards. 

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What is Amazon saying about fake eclipse glasses?

Solar eclipse glasses in the Amazon store must be ISO 12312-2 compliant and sourced from a recommended list of companies and organizations designated by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), according to the company. 

Amazon says consumers with concerns about eclipse glasses they purchased, or any item can contact Amazon’s Customer Service directly, and they will investigate and help resolve the issue. The retailer also protects every purchase in their store, and if a customer receives a product that is not in the condition expected, Amazon will refund or replace that item.

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During the 2017 solar eclipse, Amazon contacted customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not have complied with industry standards and has since implemented new controls to ensure compliance, the company shared. 

"We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws, regulations and Amazon policies. We ensure our selection meets industry-accepted standards, and we develop innovative tools to prevent unsafe products from being listed," an Amazon spokesperson tells FOX Television Stations.

"We continuously monitor our store, and if we discover a product was undetected by our automated checks, we address the issue immediately and refine our controls. We take action to maintain a safe selection for our customers, including removing noncompliant products, and outreach to sellers, manufacturers, and government agencies for additional information, when appropriate."

Where are other places to find real eclipse glasses?

If you're searching for other places to find authentic eclipse glasses, the American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable vendors and products, and consumers can find that list on their website: eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/viewers-filters

Experts warn that some of the glasses online are fake and may not offer the protection they claim – and you would have no way to know or test that. 

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth that either fully or partially blocks the Sun’s light in some areas. 

According to NASA, this only happens occasionally, because the Moon doesn't orbit in the exact same plane as the Sun and Earth do. The time when both are aligned is known as eclipse season, which happens twice a year.

When is the solar eclipse?

The solar eclipse occurs on April 8, 2024 and for millions of people across the country, daytime will briefly turn to night.

Where can I see the eclipse?

The eclipse will trace a narrow path of totality across 13 U.S. states. Small parts of Tennessee and Michigan will also experience the eclipse, according to NASA

NASA notes that these cities in each state are where you can enjoy it in the U.S. at these local times, but keep in mind, the times listed below don’t factor in when the partial eclipse will begin and end. 

  • Dallas, Texas: 1:40-1:44 p.m. CDT
  • Idabel, Oklahoma: 1:45-1:49 p.m. CDT
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: 1:51-1:54 p.m. CDT
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri: 1:56-2:00 p.m. CDT
  • Paducah, Kentucky: 2-2:02 p.m. CDT
  • Carbondale, Illinois: 1:59-2:03 p.m. CDT
  • Evansville, Indiana: 2:02-2:05 p.m. CDT
  • Cleveland, Ohio: 3:13-3:17 p.m. EDT
  • Erie, Pennsylvania: 3:16-3:20 p.m. EDT
  • Buffalo, New York: 3:18-3:22 p.m. EDT
  • Burlington, Vermont: 3:26-3:29 p.m. EDT
  • Lancaster, New Hampshire: 3:27-3:30 p.m. EDT
  • Caribou, Maine: 3:32-3:34 p.m. EDT

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.