This is not good. Amazon takes links that used to take you companies on the AAS list of safe approved, reputable vendors of eclipse materials, and switches them to companies that are not on the AAS approved list. This is dangerous for your eyes.
This isn’t malicious on Amazon’s part. When a company goes out of stock of a particular item, Amazon’s computer algorithms find another company selling a product that is the same or similar. Usually that is a good thing. You are looking for a specific camera lens or a special potato peeler and one company is out of stock so they send you to another company. And the price might even be better. But when it comes to your eyes this is a terrible thing.
As you have probably heard, Amazon and other online marketers have been flooded with counterfeit eclipse products that are NOT safe for your eyes. Using an unsafe product can lead to permanent eye damage that will cost you some or all of your vision. It would be a terrible thing to go blind because you unknowingly used a fake product. The fake products look just like the real ones. You can’t tell the difference just by looking at them.
Because of all this, the AAS (American Astronomical Society) changed their recommendations about a week ago. The are now recommending you only buy eclipse products from their list of approved reputable vendors. These eclipse products from approved vendors have been tested by physicists in high tech laboratories. They bombard the eclipse products with UV, visible, and IR wavelengths to see what wavelengths are filtered out. If the products are safe they go on the approved list.
It is unsafe to buy eclipse products from companies that are not on the approved list because their products have not been tested.
I knew for sure Amazon was changing links late last night but I have suspected it for a week. I bought safe solar filter material from an AAS approved vendor on Amazon. When I decided a week ago that I might need more, I clicked on Amazon’s “Buy Again” link but it took me to a non-approved vendor. I went looking for another source and I could not find a single safe vendor for the item I wanted to buy. I’ve been looking for a week with no success. Then last night I found four different sizes of Thousand Oaks Optical solar eclipse sheets at Agena Astro, an AAS approved vendor. That is when I wrote Back in Stock Before the Eclipse! Solar Filter Sheets Made by Thousand Oaks Optical!
When I finished the article I checked all four links again. Instead of taking me to Agena Astro, one of the links took me to ShipFrog (red arrow) which is not on the AAS approved list. That is when I knew Amazon was changing link results so the same link takes you to a different vendor. So I deleted the link to ShipFrog.
Today at noon I checked the three remaining links. One of them now takes you to RizBeauty (red arrow) another company that is not on the AAS approved list. I wrote about this company here. Not only are they not on the approved list, they have customer serious complaints for selling unsafe, fake eclipse glasses. I deleted the link to Riz Beauty.
Between midnight last night and noon this morning, Amazon changed two of my original four links so they take you to non-approved vendors instead of the AAS approved vendors. As I said before, the AAS says it is not safe to buy from vendors that are not on their approved list. They are right.
Be careful out there! Check the “Sold By” line before you buy eclipse products at Amazon
The Great American Eclipse Series
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