A solar eclipse is a rare and truly incredible sight – something that many of us will go our entire lives without being lucky enough to witness.
With that in mind, when a solar eclipse does occur near you, you probably want to be able to see it – and that’s why you’ll need to look for the best solar eclipse glasses!
Solar eclipse glasses are essentially glasses that will allow you to look directly at the sun as it is covered by the moon. If you look at this incredible event without the aid of such glasses, then you could end up permanently blinding yourself.
It’s incredibly important that you do your research when looking for the best solar eclipse glasses then – especially as reports have been coming in of malicious sellers offering counterfeit solar glasses that do not perform their intended function. Someone wearing one of these fake eclipse glasses could thus risk severely damaging their eyesight permanently, through no fault of their own.
How to Choose the Best Solar Eclipse Glasses
The best solar eclipse glasses will be verified and you should aim to buy them from reputable and trustworthy sources. That said, there are alternatives: for instance you can use welding googles as long as they are rated 14 or higher and this will do the same job. Likewise, certain telescopes, cameras and binoculars have been given an approved solar filter coating that will keep viewers eyes safe.
Failing this, there are also other ways that you can safely view a solar eclipse, some of which involve creating your own devices to help. We will cover these options as well
Solar Eclipse Glasses Reviews
Here are five of the best solar eclipse glasses currently available:
Lunt Solar Systems Eclipse Viewing Glasses 5-Pack
These affordable and well-made viewing glasses are available on Amazon and come in packs of five – more than enough to hand around the family and friends so that everyone can get a good look. The glasses are verified and use orange-tinted lenses to offer maximum protection while improving your view of the event. They also look the part with a very cool, fiery, solar design to help get everyone in the mood for a solar eclipse party! Each pack also comes with a bonus guide to the solar eclipse, so you can swat up too!
Soluna Solar Eclipse Glasses 10-Pack
This selection is even more affordable, providing ten different solar glasses manufactured by American Paper Optics. Again, you can rest assured that these glasses are verified and will offer the required protection. They have a black polymer design and cool solar eclipse artwork on the side. These glasses are also available in packs of 50, in case you want to host a big gathering to celebrate the occasion.
Celestron EclipSmart 2x Power Viewers
These are not glasses so much as viewers, meaning you will need to hold them up to your face. They nevertheless offer great protection (ISO certified) and a cool black, space-themed design. The actual lenses themselves are also a little more durable being made from plastic as compared with some other card options. All in all, this may not be the most convenient option due to the need to hold it, but it is still well made and effective.
Plastic Solar Eclipse Premium Viewing Glasses (2 Pack)
Okay, so here we get a two pack of solar eclipse glasses that aren’t made out of card for a nice change. Instead, these are black plastic frames that will make you look like you’re poor at making disguises. That does also mean that they’re a little more versatile though, so what they lack in style and fashion-sense they make up for in quality. This also means they’re more comfortable to wear (without card digging into the tops of your ears) and it means that you don’t need to constantly hold them in place with a spare hand. That’s useful for operating a camera or doing other things that require hands!
Most importantly, these glasses work well when it comes to protecting your eyes. They are CE and ISO certified and fit snuggly on most adult and child faces. Also includes a handy guide to solar events!
Explore Scientific Sun Catcher Solar Glasses 2-Pack
This is our pick of the best solar eclipse glasses currently available. That’s because these glasses are available in packs of 2 – which right away will appeal to a lot of people. At the same time, the glasses are well constructed with a large reinforced frame and verified protection to deflect the harmful rays of the sun. The lenses are tinted with a yellow-orange hue, which results in a great view of the sun.
The more sturdy construction of these glasses makes all the difference. Many of the options on this list are made from flimsy card, which could easily fall off your face or be dropped – not so good when that’s all that’s between your eyes and the powerful, burning rays of the sun. It’s for that reason that we chose the Explore Scientific Sun Catcher Solar Glasses.
When buying solar eclipse glasses, there are a few things to consider to ensure that you are getting a product that will actually protect you from the glare! The first thing to do, is to make sure that the company in question is listed here at the Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers page, run by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). If the glasses you are considering are not on this list, then that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t work – but it does mean that you are taking a risk with an unknown brand! It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Keep in mind a few more factors. For instance, how many glasses do you need? If you are only getting them for yourself, then of course buying a batch of 20 glasses isn’t necessary – but do keep in mind that sometimes they can get broken or damaged, so it may in fact be a good idea to get more than one at a time at least.
Consider the amount of time it will take for the goggles to arrive. You don’t want to wait for the delivery only to find out that you’ve missed the actual event!
Technically, what you are looking for is compliance with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard. As long as your glasses meet this minimum requirement, then you will be able to look at the sun for as long as you like. Likewise, as long as the glasses aren’t damaged or scratched in anyway, then you can use them as many times as you like before having to replace them.
Keep in mind however, that it is often advisable to replace your glasses after 3 years. This shouldn’t be required for glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard (which only came into effect in 2015), however, seeing as these glasses only cost a few dollars, you may still wish to be ‘extra safe’. Also if you are interested in the best solar panel you can have, check our top 5 choices on our guide.
Now, we’re not going to recommend purchasing welding goggles specifically for viewing the sun. The reason for this, is that welding goggles are significantly more expensive and while they will work – you can get the same benefit for less by using solar eclipse glasses that are designed specifically for that purpose.
That said, if you happen to have a pair of welding glasses already that are rated at shade 14, then you can use them to view the sun without having to fork out extra! Some advice suggests shade 12, but again – there is no harm in being extra safe. We recommend that you check welding goggle reviews and browse the web for ideas if you want goggles that will serve dual purpose!
Keep in mind that most welding goggles will be lower than shade 12, meaning you shouldn’t even consider trying to use them to view the sun. One of the most common ways that people end up damaging their eyes during a solar eclipse is that they presume that any welding goggles will be safe, run to the shed to get theirs and then look directly at the sun not realizing that they are shade 8…
There is some risk that shade 14 will be too dark to properly see the sun too, while shade 13 are very difficult to find. This is one more reason that you should aim to get solar eclipse glasses rather than welding goggles. Note that no welding goggles are listed on the AAS reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers.
So you can consider reading welding goggles reviews to check that your current welding goggles are suitable or to purchase goggles with the dual purpose of welding and solar eclipse viewing. But otherwise? You are much better looking for specialist products for your intended purpose.
How to View the Sun Safely With Eclipse Glasses?
So, once you have your solar eclipse glasses, the next question is how do you go about using them safely?
Just because you have eclipse glasses ready, that doesn’t mean you’re completely safe to view the sun – you still need to proceed with caution.
The first thing to recognize is that viewing the sun through sunglasses, home-made filters or anything else that isn’t specifically rated for viewing a solar eclipse is not safe. These will still transmit thousands of times too much sunlight and can permanently damage your eyes – it just is not worth taking any kind of risk.
And with that in mind, you also need to make some sensible checks and take some precautions even when using the best solar eclipse glasses. Firstly, you always need to inspect the solar filter itself before use. If the filter has been scratched or damaged even slightly, then this can still allow some light to get in and can still cause serious damage to your health. In this case, you need to discard the item.
Remember, while the product might be high quality, there is a chance it will have been damaged in transit, in which case it might not do the job as intended. In this case, you should replace the glasses.
Also important is that you always supervise children when using solar eclipse glasses. Children might risk dropping the glasses or ‘taking a peek’ and thereby causing irreversible damage. For that reason, it is highly advisable that you be to hand to help guide them through the process.
Another important tip is to be very careful when performing astrophotography. Many people will want to photograph this incredible event and this is understandable. However, when you do so, it is important that you are careful to avoid pointing the camera directly at the sun without wearing your glasses. This can damage your eyes and also damage the camera – unless it is using a suitable filter as well.
Similarly, you must not look at the sun through glasses, through binoculars etc. If you do want to use a solar filter to protect a camera or a telescope, then it is highly advisable that you consult with an astronomer/professional photographer in order to ensure that you have adequate protection in place.
There is a slight exception to all of this safety: if you are fortunate enough to be in the path of totality – meaning that you will get to see a total solar eclipse – then you’ll be able to look directly at the sun for a very short time. Only when the sun is completely covered is it safe to look and then you should replace the solar viewer as soon as the partial phases come back. Of course there is some room for error here, so if you want to be even safer, then you may decide to simply sacrifice this view rather than risk your eyes.
And outside the path of totality, you should use a safe solar filter to view the sun.
If you normally wear eyeglasses, then it is fine to keep these on. You should be able to put your solar eclipse glasses on over the top, or potentially simply hold the handheld viewer in front of them.
Note that as long as the safety glasses are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard, you should be able to wear them for as long as you like while looking at the sun. If the instructions that came with your product advise against this, then chances are that these are not compliant glasses and you may wish to shop elsewhere.
More Options for Viewing the Sun
As well as looking for the best solar eclipse glasses, there are a number of other options for viewing a solar eclipse.
Telescopes With Filters:
One of the most exciting ways to view a solar eclipse by far is to use a telescope. This will allow you to look at the sun while also seeing it enlarged and in much greater detail. For this however, you will need a specially coated telescope. You should never consider attaching regular solar filters to the eyepiece (as some people mistakenly will) as this will not provide adequate protection when you magnify the intensity of the sun.
Sometimes nature provides when it comes to things like this. If you find yourself in the midst of a solar eclipse unprepared, then you should resist the temptation to look at the sun. What you can do though, is to find any nearby tree with leaves. If you look at the ground beneath the leaves, you’ll find that there are actually multiple projections of the eclipse on the floor, showing the beautiful crescent shape!
Where to Get Solar Eclipse Glasses for Free:
Did you know that you might be able to get solar eclipse glasses for free? Check out your local library for instance. Many are now giving out free glasses during solar eclipse events and this provides a way for anyone to view the sun.
Another option if you haven’t been able to secure pair of goggles is to try projecting the sun yourself. You can do this by creating what is known as a ‘pinhole projector’. You will do this by using two sheets of cardboard and a white surface such as a piece of paper.
Take your sheet of paper and make a small hole in the middle of it using a pin or thumbtack. This hole should be round and event. Now, with your back toward the sun, hold one piece of paper/card above your shoulder so that the sun can shine onto the paper. The second sheet should be on the ground or held in your other hand and will act as a canvas for the sun to shine on. Try adjusting the distance until you get the image of the sun with the hole cut out of it wherever the mood is blocking the sun. The further you hold the ‘screen’ away, the larger and fainter the image will be.
Another option is to use a pair of binoculars for the same purpose. You will in this case use the binoculars as the projector, covering one of the lenses in order to have the sun shine through just the one onto the paper.
While viewing the sun through a pinhole projector or solar eclipse glasses because it lets you witness the event live and first hand, the truth is that this will give you only a blurry, dark outline, or a shadow.
Thus, you may wish to see what the actual eclipse looks like. If you have protected camera or telescope you can do this, but otherwise the best way is to go online and view a live stream. There are plenty of sites that will film and broadcast the event live using high tech recording equipment. Visit those sites and you can observe this incredible event in more detail.
More Safety Tips
Looking at the solar eclipse is actually just one consideration. This can actually be a rather disruptive event for a number of reasons that will affect how you go about your day and potentially put you at risk.
A solar eclipse can be dangerous while driving for instance, as the sky suddenly goes dark and bright light returns to potentially dazzle drivers. You should be prepared for this if you intend to drive at this time, and also be aware that traffic is likely to be heavy due to people driving to witness this incredible event.
Another tip is to be careful when out and about during this time. Sudden changes to the light can be disorienting and with lots of people looking upward, or at their pinhole projectors, it can be easy to trip and fall, or to have an accident. Keep your wits about you and enjoy this incredible event safely! If you are interested check here the best solar watches.
This all might sound like a lot of precautions and a lot of reason to be concerned. Perhaps you’re considering writing the whole thing off as too much effort! But we highly encourage you not to miss out on this incredible event! This is one of the most majestic and powerfully moving naturally occurrences possible and it only comes around a few times in a lifetime. Do your research, be prepared and bear witness to the incredible power of the planets and the sun as it dances through our universe.
Did you know that the only reason we are able to see a solar eclipse is that the distance between the sun, the moon and the earth is absolutely perfect for the event? Were any of these factors just slightly different, then it wouldn’t happen! Over time this will change as the Earth, sun and moon all move. Some day in the future, our distant ancestors will tell stories of the solar eclipse or learn about it in a removed manner from their school books. If you are interested, find here the best solar panels you need.
You are alive at precisely the right time in the history of the planet… so don’t squander that opportunity!