Reliable dealers with safe eclipse glasses, binoculars, and solar filters are running out of stock. To make matters worse the market is being flooded with counterfeits that are not safe. If you buy a counterfeit item you could end up with permanent eye damage, reduced vision, or go completely blind. This article will take you to the safe stuff.
The unsafe fake items look just like the safe items. You can’t tell the difference just by looking at them. [Update: Some of the most recent fakes are so poorly done they have bad spelling and grammar, but most fakes are so well done you can’t tell them from the real thing.] The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has published a list of approved vendors that are safe to buy from. The items these vendors sell have been laboratory tested by scientists to insure they are safe. You should buy directly from one of these vendors. Do not buy anything from anyone else.
Eclipse Binoculars (SUNoculars)
Great American Eclipse is one of the approved vendors and they still have solar binoculars (called SUNoculars) and eclipse glasses in stock. Don’t wait. They could run out any time.
High Density Photography Filters
Unlike eclipse glasses and binoculars it is NOT safe to look at the sun through a high density photography filter. They are safe for your camera but not for your eyes. With a high density filter on your camera lens it is NOT safe to look through the camera’s viewfinder. When using a high density filter your camera must be in Live View mode. This article will tell you how to safely photograph the sun through a high density filter.
You have two good options for buying a high density filter. The inexpensive option is to buy the high density material made by Baader and make your own filter. The expensive option is to buy a ready made Lee Solar Filter along with a filter holder and adapter ring. Both options are covered below.
You can make your own solar filter with high density eclipse filter material from Baader Planetarium, but this material is only safe for photography, not for looking at the sun. You can learn all about Baader high density filter material in this article.
You can also buy commercial high density filters from Adorama. You will also need a filter holder and an adapter ring. More information in this article. The same cautions apply. Do not look at the sun through these filters and do not look through the camera’s viewfinder.
“White Light” Solar Filters
White Light Solar Filters and filter material, made by Thousand Oaks Optical, are safe for photography and for viewing. All of the AAS approved vendors have been out of stock for a while but that just changed. See the update in the next paragraph..
Update August 10: Great news! Solar filter sheets made by Thousand Oaks Optical are back in stock. They are sold by Agena Astro at Amazon.com. Agena Astro is on the approved vendors list by the American Astronomical Society (AAS).
For more info and to order go to this article: Back in Stock Before the Eclipse! Solar Filter Sheets Made by Thousand Oaks Optical!
The Great American Eclipse Series
You Can Make Your Own Inexpensive High Density Filter To Photograph the Eclipse with solar filter material from Baader Planetarium
How to Tell If Your Eclipse Glasses or Handheld Solar Viewers Are Safe – the American Astronomical Society
Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters – the American Astronomical Society