Astronomy

Can you test solar eclipse glasses with a remote control?

Can you test solar eclipse glasses with a remote control?

By putting solar eclipse glasses directly between a remote control IR emitter and device receiver, could some unsafe glasses be detected? My guess is most fake glasses are just blocking visible light at best, while safe ones should block the IR signal as well. It would not guarantee they are 100% safe, but it might be able to detect bad ones.

I know to check for the ISO logo, cert number, and buy from a reputable vendor recommenced by the American Astronomical Society (which I have). It would still be nice to double check pairs of glasses before giving them out to friends and family.


Short answer: No.

Long answer: No. You're testing at a single wavelength. The Sun emits continuously at a variety of wavelengths from deep infrared to far ultraviolet. Testing with a single kind of radiation doesn't tell you much about the filter behavior at the other wavelengths.

Buy from the online vendors that specialize in selling astronomy equipment - the ones that all astronomers buy their gear from. They tend to know the stuff they're selling. The list of vendors on the AAS page is good.


I was considering a similar line of thinking. However, there were a few hangups which I believe prevent yee-average-human from testing the glasses.

Many sites suggest a transmittance of 0.0032 (welding shade 12) to be the minimum to be safe (and typically recommend 13 or 14, which has even lower transmittance). That means you're only seeing 0.3% of the light get through the goggles. Your test would need to have enough sensitivity to pick up that tiny amount of IR light, and to not only receive a signal but be able to meaningfully measure its amplitude. You would also need to ensure that UV light is blocked as well… and all the other IR bands (I am not confident as to how wide-band protection one actually needs).

Even then, you'd have to deal with the issue of having built your own contraption to test a device which must protect your eyes from a permanent damage that you literally cannot see. I'd want to be quite the confident electrical engineer and systems test expert to make sure that the tests I do actually test what needs to be tested.

Note: I have a related question asking how one can track down the ISO certifications and see if your particular vendor has legitimate glasses or not. I run into the same issue: how can you trust that this device performs as indicated, because your eyesight depends on it.


No, because among other reasons it's UV, not IR which poses the major ocular damage risk.

THere's also the fact that you can't possibly measure a 30 or 40 dB attenuation factor in the method you're proposing. Your source is very weak and your receiver is binary (it responds or it doesn't).


Here's how to tell if your solar eclipse glasses are safe

The US will get to see a solar eclipse on August 21, an event in which the moon crosses between the Earth and the sun.

Some people will even get to see a total eclipse, where the moon completely blocks out the light from the sun.

But viewing an eclipse can be a dangerous endeavor. That's because you shouldn't look directly at the sun.

Luckily, there are glasses with solar filters designed to let you see the eclipse in a way that will keep your eyes from getting damaged.

But as excitement about the solar eclipse has grown, so has concern about scam glasses, which might leave people without the proper eye protection on the day of the eclipse.


Use Shade-14 Welding Glass

If you or someone in your family is a welder, then you might be in luck. Welders need helmets with darkened glass infused into them to prevent the incredibly bright welding arc from blinding them.

NASA says shade-14 welding glass will work and is dark enough for solar eclipse viewing. It doesn&rsquot matter if you&rsquore wearing a welding helmet with shade-14 glass installed in it or just holding a piece of raw shade-14 welding glass up with your arm.

Unfortunately, many welders choose lighter glass shades for their work to make viewing their welding job easier. Consequently, shade-14 welding glass is harder to find than others.

NASA admits that some consider shade-14 welding glass too dark for solar eclipse viewing. Despite that caveat, you shouldn&rsquot use anything apart from shade-14 because it will be too light and won't provide adequate protection, resulting in permanent eye damage.


Solar Eclipse Timer

The Solar Eclipse Timer app was developed by me, an expert eclipse chaser, to help people get the most enjoyment out of observing and photographing a total solar eclipse.

#1 ECLIPSE TIMING APP
It was the #1 eclipse timing app used during the 2017 total solar eclipse that crossed the United States. It was then used successfully in Chile and Argentina during the 2019 solar eclipse.

It was featured in Sky and Telescope Magazine in 2002, 2003 and 2017. Fred Espenak, Mr. Eclipse, used the app in 2017 and he recommended it on his blog. It’s been used by Destin Sandlin of the YouTube channel Smarter Every Day for his two eclipses, 2017 and 2019, and he recommends the app. From Space.com, Elizabeth Howell, gave it a positive review. Over 630 positive comments were posted after the 2017 eclipse.
The unique feature of the app is that it will automatically calculate your exact contact times when you are at your final observing position. Then, I become your personal eclipse astronomer, because though the app I will talk you through the eclipse! It is so easy to use! Basically a “Two Tap Setup”. Get into the path 1 Tap to Geolocate. 2. Tap to Load the Contact Times. That’s it! You are now timing the eclipse!

The app is a FREE download to try it out. It then has in-app purchases to BUY the eclipse data set that you want to time. It is ready for 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2024.

The FREE download allows you to play with the app, see its features and realize its benefits for you on Eclipse Day. Watch a built-in app tutorial that explains all of the functions of the app.

WORKS IN REMOTE LOCATIONS
Solar Eclipse Timer will work anywhere. The app does its calculations internally. It does not require cell service or an internet connection to work. It only requires a GPS signal, or manually entering GPS coordinates for the calculations to occur.

OTHER BENEFITS AND FEATURES
Eclipse Education - When you use Solar Eclipse Timer, it is one part of my three-part program of eclipse education and preparation. This app is coordinated with my Solar Eclipse Timer YouTube channel and my Solar Eclipse Timer website. There is no other place in the world to get such a comprehensive eclipse preparation package! It’s like having me as your person solar eclipse coach.

Partial Eclipse Timing Mode - It can also time the eclipse as a partial eclipse if you are not in the path of totality. It displays your maximum percent coverage and then continuously displays the progress of the eclipse. The announcements are altered to be appropriate for your maximum eclipse percentage.

Extensive Help File – The Help File is a comprehensive guide not only to using the app but to learning about eclipses. Within the help file text are external hyperlinks to my YouTube channel videos about eclipse subjects. There are over 3 hours of custom eclipse video content including some of my original research on my YouTube channel.

ALWAYS USE EYE PROTECTION DURING THE PARTIAL PHASES OF A SOLAR ECLIPSE! OR EVEN WHEN IT IS BRIGHT! NOT DOING SO CAN CAUSE EYE DAMAGE!

We are NOT liable for misuse of the app causing inaccurate timing or the lack of eye safety precautions during the observation of a solar eclipse.

The "glasses off" and "glasses on" statements are a guide based on the calculated contact times. The timing can be affected by your phone's clock and the shape of the shadow due to the edge of the lunar limb. Lunar limb adjustment times for every point on the path are available on the internet. You are responsible for the timing so use the Adjust buttons as necessary. Glasses should be ON if it's bright!


Deep Sky West Remote Observatory Offers Remote Telescope Astro Imaging

Deep Sky West Remote Observatory (DSW) is a remote astrophotography observatory complex situated on Rowe Mesa in Rowe, New Mexico. This 35-acre high altitude site (elevation 7,400 feet) offers pristine dark skies, excellent seeing, and weather conditions coveted by all imagers. The complex was developed to make remote imaging and hosting affordable for the “average” backyard astrophotographer.

DSW’s “Alpha” facility is the first of several ”roll-off building” observatories (“ROBO”) and is designed and operated specifically with the backyard astrophotographer in mind. The facility offers professional, state-of-the-art, affordable and convenient astrophotography environment to allow anyone to host to host their own telescope, join an existing team, or become a member of a team on DSW’s equipment.

Who Uses DSW?

Deep Sky West’s target audience is the average backyard astrophotographer who has a love for the hobby (and usually has great equipment) but is plagued by poor skies. The lack of consistently clear skies results in equipment going idle for long stretches. When the weather does cooperate, many imagers must travel far to remote locations, set up equipment from scratch, polar align, image, and tear it all down again at the end of the session. Imagers fortunate enough to have a home observatory don’t have the hassles of setting up and tearing down for each session, but most locations lack quality skies.

DSW is designed to change all this. By offering access to consistently clear skies and consistently great seeing, your equipment investment does not go to waste. DSW was built with industry standard instrumentation and safety features and is organized in a way that makes its service surprisingly affordable.

DSW provides imagers with great skies regardless of where they live. Its current members include dedicated imagers from Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, England, Germany, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Pristine Location

The DSW remote observatory is located near Rowe, New Mexico (35.32N latitude, 105.72W longitude), at an elevation of 7400 feet. Albuquerque, population 555,000, is roughly 54 miles west southwest, and Santa Fe, population 69,000, is about 27 miles to its northwest. SQM range at the observatory is >=21.7 and seeing ranges from 1.0 to 2.0 arc seconds, although 0.8 has been observed.

The existing observatory building measures 25 by 60 feet. The structure is a corrugated Steel Master A-Model Quonset hut. The entire structure rolls away to expose the enclosed telescopes to the sky with horizon-to-horizon coverage down to at least 25 degrees. The inner stem walls provide protection from ground-level wind when the building is rolled away. The structure is engineered to withstand snow and wind loads associated with the local conditions.

All equipment is insured, and each member hosting equipment is also required to carry insurance. Premiums vary, but are generally less than $300 per year. If you need assistance, DSW can refer you to an insurance broker to assess your needs.

Each of the 18 isolated imaging locations are on 7- by 7-foot squares with custom-built, 0.25-inch thick-walled, cold-rolled steel piers available. The piers have a flat top surface with universal tapped holes to fit Software Bisque and Astro-Physics mounts. Other mount brands can be accommodated, as well.

The observatory is serviced by 100-Mbps fiber Internet connectivity, both up and down. Instrumentation and controls include: M10OASYS automation and control, Interactive Astronomy’s SkyAlert Cloud Sensor for primary rain sensing, a Hydreon Optical Rain Sensor for secondary sensing, a Hunter Rain-Clik for tertiary rain sensing, Interactive Astronomy’s SkyEye all-sky camera, a Unihedron Sky Quality Meter, Bosch and custom low-lux surveillance cameras, and Cisco Meraki cloud-managed network infrastructure. The site’s current telemetry can be accessed at http://deepskywest.com/telemetry/ .

Imaging Teams

DSW promotes teamwork. Many of its active imagers are actually members of “imaging teams.” An imaging team can be formed around your system, or you can join a team using a system owned by another DSW member.

If you decide to build an imaging team around your own system (although it’s not required), DSW has proven out a few best practices, including (1) share all data facilitated through a cloud storage service (2) vote on target selection (3) select one member as the primary system operator familiar with automated imaging programs (i.e., CCDAP, ACP, etc.) and (4) final images are property of the processor.

How to Get Involved

Join an existing team for as low as $50US per month. This is the easiest way to get involved and only requires you to find a team looking for members. DSW helps facilitate this process, as needed. Its website promotes team formation by allowing prospective members to post the equipment they’d be willing to install at DSW.

Interested members with complimentary equipment, or in some cases no equipment at all, can post and apply to be a part of a team. Some teams will be as small as two members. The maximum is seven. DSW’s experience has taught that the sweet spot ranges between three and seven members, considering such factors as agreement on target selection, image-integration requirements, image-quality requirements, etc.

DSW staff currently operate five “in house” systems that have limited availability. These presently include five options: (1) a 14.5-inch RC Optical with an SBIG STX-16803 plus adaptive optics on a Paramount ME for $2400 per year (2) an Astro-Physics RH-305 with an FLI ML8300 on a Paramount ME for $1800 per year (3) another Astro-Physics Rh-305 with an SBIG STX-16803 on an A-P 1600 for $2000 per year (4) a Rokinon 135-mm f/2.8 ultra-wide field with a QSI583sw on a Paramount ME for $600 per year and (5) an FSQ106 with a QSI683wsg-8 on a Paramount MyT for $1200 per year. To put those prices in perspective, remember that you get all imaging data, you participate in image selection, and DSW images every clear night.

Starting a Team

Anyone with suitable equipment can join DSW as an individual, or start an imaging team. This involves finding a core group of imagers who together have, or can acquire, a complete imaging system. For example, one DSW imaging team utilizes a TEC 160 owned by a member/founder from Texas joined by team members from Italy and China. This team shares the lease costs, and all data is shared equally amongst the imaging team members.

Setting Up Your System

DSW personnel are available to perform system installations if you can’t make the journey and do it yourself. It charges a nominal fee for set up and testing. The process typically requires two or three clear nights to complete, including the physical installation, network set up, polar alignment, and calibrations as required (focuser, PEC, rotator, collimation, etc.). If you perform your own installation, DSW personnel will be on site to assist you. Oh, and DSW provides on-site lodging free of charge!

The basic hosting fee is $8400US per year. This fee includes electricity, network, support and site insurance. Members who form full teams of seven effectively pay $100 per month per person (although team financial arrangements are up to the team). This demonstrates one of DSW’s key principles: Remote imaging can be affordable – so much so that some of its imagers choose to be members of more than one team.

For more information, visit http://deepskywest.com/.

The Astronomy Technology Today editorial staff would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the availability of our Solar eclipse equipment guide – The Definitive Equipment Guide to the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Our goal with the 40 page publication is to provide an easy-to-consume introduction to the technological options for viewing and imaging the Great Solar Eclipse. We cover the gamut of options available including building your own solar viewer, solar glasses, smart phones, DSLR cameras, using astronomy telescopes, solar telescopes, using binoculars, solar filters (including a DYI filter option), CCD astro cameras, astro video cameras, webcams and much more. You can view the guide on our website here – its free and there is no requirement to sign up to read the guide.


Checklist for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

On the date this article is published, we are exactly two weeks away from the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, one of the most anticipated astronomical events in our lifetime.

By now, most people have made their eclipse viewing plans. Some will travel to a destination to experience totality, some already are in the path of totality and the vast majority of people will enjoy the eclipse where they live.

No matter which of these represents your situation, you need to have a plan. It can be as simple as: 1) Bought solar glasses 2) Confirmed the time of the eclipse in your area and 3) made sure that at where you plan on observing the eclipse there are no obstructions of the actual eclipse (trees, buildings, etc.).

If you plan to be more active with the eclipse, as of today, there is still plenty of time to get solar glasses, solar telescopes or binoculars, solar filters and more. We’ve checked with many astronomy retailers, and while inventories are tight, they still have solar eclipse specific equipment available.

The Astronomy Technology Today editorial staff would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the availability of our Solar eclipse equipment guide – The Definitive Equipment Guide to the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Our goal with the 40-page publication is to provide an easy-to-consume introduction to the technological options for viewing and imaging the Great Solar Eclipse.

We cover the gamut of options available including building your own solar viewer, solar glasses, smart phones, DSLR cameras, using astronomy telescopes, solar telescopes, using binoculars, solar filters (including a DYI filter option), CCD astro cameras, astro video cameras, webcams and much more. Included is a comprehensive list of astronomy retailers.

You can view the guide on our website here – its free and there is no requirement to sign up to read the guide.

As for your checklist, Brian Ventrudo with Astronomy Connect has put together an extensive checklist that covers virtually every situation. We have listed his recommendations below, and he also provides a PDF printable version of the checklist that you can print out and use.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Checklist

Select the best location for seeing the total eclipse based on accessibility and weather prospects

– Select an alternate location and a route to that location

– Build your kit of solar observing accessories including eclipse glasses, solar viewing cards, solar filters for your telescope, and solar binoculars

– Review the details how a solar eclipse works including the phases of a solar eclipse and the phenomena you can expect to see during the event

– Use a planetarium app such as Stellarium to find out which bright stars and planets to expect to see in the sky during totality

– Determine the exact time of the beginning and end of the partial and total phases of the eclipse for your primary and secondary observing locations. This link will help, or you can get a copy of Fred Espenak’s Eclipse Bulletin)

During the Week Before the Eclipse

– Pack the equipment you need to see and image the eclipse including telescopes, eyepieces, mounts, power sources, binoculars, solar filters, cameras, lenses, remote release, and tripods

– Test and ensure all equipment is working by doing a ‘dry run’ during a daytime solar observation session

– Pack a notebook or audio recording device to help you take notes before, during, and after the eclipse

– Pack tent, sleeping bags, dry food, water, and other camping equipment for the night before and after the eclipse in case you need to travel far from your expected base

– Check to ensure your solar filters fit securely on your telescope

– Review the timing of the eclipse for your expected and alternate observing locations

The Day of the Eclipse

– Wake up early and check the weather forecast

– Leave early for your observing location

– Set up your equipment for observing and/or imaging

– Test your equipment and check its operation

– Review your observing and imaging plan

Observing the Eclipse: From the Beginning Until Totality

– With your telescope or binoculars and solar filter, or with your solar glasses, note the earliest time at which you notice the beginning of the eclipse.

– Examine the Sun’s visible face for sunspots, faculae, and limb darkening

– Note changes in atmospheric conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, and cloud formation as the eclipse moves towards totality

– As the partial phase of the solar eclipse progresses look for projections of the Sun’s partially eclipse image cast on the ground by gaps between the leaves of a tree

– Look for changes in brightness, color, and contrast of the surrounding landscape

In the Last Minute Before Totality

– Watch for Baily’s Beads or Diamond Ring Effect (while still wearing your eclipse glasses)

– Watch for the arrival of the Moon’s shadow across the landscape (especially if you are in an elevated location)

– Observe changes in bird and animal behavior

During the Brief Time of Totality

NOTE: This is the only time you can safely look at the eclipse, and you can only see the total eclipse if you are on the path of narrow path of totality at the right time. Once Baily’s Beads or the Diamond Ring disappear and the Moon covers the Sun, it is safe to remove your eclipse glasses.

– Remove your eclipse glasses and examine the spectacle

– If you are going to take photographs, remove the solar filter from your camera during the brief phase of totality

– Look for the Sun’s silvery corona and note its shape and the configuration of its ‘streamers’ of light

– Look for the red glow of the Sun’s chromosphere just around the rim of the Moon. If you have optical aid such as binoculars, look for solar prominences

– Look for bright stars and planets near the Sun and around the sky

– Note the change in temperature and the brightness and color of the sky, clouds, and surrounding landscape

– Note your own feelings and reaction to totality even experienced amateur and professional astronomers are unexpectedly awestruck at the sight of a total solar eclipse

– As the Moon begins its exit from the Sun’s bright face, watch for the return Baily’s Beads or Diamond Ring Effect. NOTE: At this point, you MUST put your eclipse glasses back on and cover your camera, telescope, or binoculars with their solar filters.

After the Eclipse

– Record your observing notes and personal impressions in audio or written format

– Pack up (and make sure you haven’t left anything behind)

– Start planning for the next one!

Equipment Checklist

– Eclipse glasses, solar viewer, or hand-held solar filters

– Cell phone (for weather updates, time of day, GPS and map, and audio recording capabilities)

– Solar Filters (for telescope and binoculars)

– Power sources (for mounts, cameras, etc.)

– Small toolkit for repairs (multi-use screwdriver, Allen wrenches, small knife, multi-tool)

– Plastic bags or tarps (to protect electronics from rain)

– Compass (to help align equatorial mount, if applicable)

For Photography and Imaging

– Camera

– Solar filter for camera lens

– Adapters to attach camera to telescope (if applicable)

Eclipse Timing and Planning

At your expected observing location, record the timing of the eclipse (and note the correct time zone)

– First Contact (partial eclipse begins)

– Second Contact (total eclipse begins)

– Third Contact (total eclipse ends)

– Fourth Contact (partial eclipse ends)

At your alternate observing location, record the timing of the eclipse (and note the correct time zone)


The American Optometric Association, the American Academy of Opthamology, the American Astronomical Society, and NASA have all clearly stated that viewing the eclipse through proper glasses or viewers is safe. So how do you know if your eclipse glasses (or handheld eclipse viewers) are the real deal? It used to be that looking for the ISO certification label was enough to know the glasses but with the high demand for the glasses, there have been reports of counterfeit pairs flooding the market with doctored or fake labels. The online retailer Amazon has added fuel to this fire by recalling many of their glasses with only a week to spare.

The American Astronomical Society has a list of approved, reputable vendors. You can test your glasses by checking that they filter out any light that is dimmer than the Sun. You shouldn&rsquot see any ordinary household lights at all through proper eclipse glasses. Looking at the Sun through the glasses also should not be uncomfortable. If you ordered from Amazon but did not receive a recall notice from them, check your spam folder or contact them if you are still unsure. Even if they are from the approved list, make sure your glasses are not dented or scratched.


For The Eclipse, People Put Sunscreen On Their Eyeballs

This is not the way you are supposed to use sunscreen. The directions on a sunscreen bottle typically do not say: 1. Open bottle 2. Squeeze some sunscreen on your fingers and hands. 3. Put on eyeballs. In fact, this is true for most things around you such as spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, or toothpaste. But read the article from WCMH Channel 4, an NBC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, entitled "Patients treated for putting sunscreen in eyes during solar eclipse, report says."

It included a quote from Nurse practitioner Trish Patterson who told KRCR news station that: “One of my colleagues at moonlight here stated yesterday that they had patients presenting at their clinic that put sunscreen on their eyeball, and presented that they were having pain and they were referred to an ophthalmologist."

Folks, to view a solar eclipse, you can wear a pair of real solar eclipse glasses or make a pinhole projector. But don't put sunscreen on your eyeballs.

To be fair, you may get sunscreen in your eyes without intentionally putting it there. Sweat or accidentally rubbing your eyes can bring sunscreen into your eyes, especially if you try to cover the areas around your eye as much as possible and don't have a habit of washing your dirty, filthy hands. Spraying sunscreen directly at your face can also get sunscreen into your eyes. Therefore, instead, spray it on your hands first, and then use your hands to apply it to your face. Also, sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide may run less and thus stay in place better.

Spraying sunscreen on your face, as Kole Calhoun #56 of the Los Angeles Angels is doing here, is . [+] probably not the best way to apply sunscreen. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The challenge is to get as much of your face covered but not get too close to your eyes. After all, as Henry Bodkin described for The Telegraph, the skin around your eyes is susceptible to sunlight damage and skin cancer as well. If you don't want to get sunscreen too close to your eyes, there are other ways of protecting the areas around the windows to your soul. You can wear sunglasses that offer real Ultraviolet-ray protection, a wide-brimmed hat, or a mask/cowl if you are Batman.

What do you do if you get sunscreen in your eyes? Don't panic. Panic is only good at the disco. In most cases, sunscreen can irritate your eyes, causing pain and stinging but will not cause permanent damage. If you are wearing contact lenses, take them out. Then, flush your eyes with plenty of eye drops, saline, or running water , while blinking frequently. Of course, be careful about the source of water. You shouldn't use something that will damage your eye like a fire hose or is dirty like what's in the Hudson River or your toilet. If flushing your eyes doesn't work, seek medical attention. The Poison Control website includes a procedure on how to deal with sunscreen getting into your eyes.

Whether you are preparing to watch an eclipse or just going out in the sun, protect your eyes properly from the sun and sunscreen. That twinkle in your eye shouldn't be from either.

I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am

I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health, Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), Professor By Courtesy at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and founder and CEO of Symsilico. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work has included developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.


Solar Eclipse Glasses Recalled

Today's solar eclipse is fast approaching, but a number of solar eclipse glasses are being recalled just hours before gazers look up to catch a view of the sky as the moon passes between the sun and Earth.

It's no secret that staring directly at the sun, during an eclipse or at any other time, can cause permanent vision damage and that safe solar eclipse glasses must be clearly marked with the "ISO 12312-2" certification. But as counterfeit versions with the ISO label have flooded the market, many consumers are concerned about whether their glasses are legitimate.

This morning, Dutch Bros. Coffee, which has more than 260 locations in seven states, issued a warning that an internal investigation has led them to recall the solar eclipse glasses that they handed out at many of their stands. The chain noted on Facebook that although the manufacturer confirmed that the glasses were ISO certified, they're not sure. They're urging customers to return their glasses for a free drink of their choice.

Earlier this month, Amazon issued a refund to customers who purchased counterfeit versions of solar eclipse glasses that might not comply with industry standards. In some cases, the supplier was unable to confirm that the products came from a recommended manufacturer. Those who ordered these glasses through Amazon received an email alert, but concerned customers can also call Amazon's customer service if in doubt.

"Safety is among our highest priorities. Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively reached out to customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards. We want customers to buy with confidence anytime they make a purchase on Amazon.com and eclipse glasses sold on Amazon.com are required to comply with the relevant ISO standard," the company said in a statement.

And last week, Vanderbilt University Medical Center recalled 8,000 pairs of white eclipse viewing glasses that were distributed at a county fair. Although the glasses were purchased through a third-party vendor and included documentation that they had been tested and met safe viewing-standards, the manufacturer of the glasses was unable to verify that it produced the glasses.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) warns: "U nscrupulous vendors can grab the ISO logo off the internet and put it on their products and packaging even if their eclipse glasses or viewers haven't been properly tested. This means that just seeing the ISO logo or a label claiming ISO 12312-2 certification isn't good enough. You need to know that the product comes from a reputable manufacturer or one of their authorized dealers."

If you're doubting whether the solar eclipse glasses that you snagged are legitimate, you can test them first. "Safe solar filters produce a view of the sun that is comfortably bright (like the full Moon), in focus, and surrounded by dark sky. If you glance at the sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus, and/or surrounded by a bright haze, it’s no good," the AAS explains on its website.

In addition, you shouldn't be able to see anything through a safe solar filter except the sun itself or something comparably bright, such as "the sun reflected in a mirror or a sunglint off shiny metal," according to the AAS. This light source should appear quite dim through a solar viewer. "If you can see shaded lamps or other common household light fixtures (not bare bulbs) of more ordinary brightness through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, and you're not sure the product came from a reputable vendor, it’s no good," the AAS says.


Celestron Releases PWI Telescope Control for CGX and CGX-L Telescope Mounts

Celestron has teamed up with PlaneWave Instruments to develop a new, specialized telescope control software for the CGX and CGX-L mount. The new PWI Telescope Control software release coincided with the release of Celestron’s newly designed -L series German Equatorial Mounts. With the availability of the new PWI Telescope Control mount, software owners of CGX and CGX-L mounts will see a significant increase in the full pointing accuracy potential of the mounts.

The software can be accessed with a direct USB connection from a PC to the USB port on the mount and the PWI’s Sky Viewer display makes for easy target selection. Users can find their favorite deep sky object in PWI’s extensive object database and PWI links to the online SIMBAD astronomical database for even more objects.

PWI employs PointXP mount modelling, which accepts numerous star alignment points for the best possible accuracy. PointXP (also used in StarSense AutoAlign accessory) goes beyond the pointing capability of a traditional hand control. By adding multiple star alignment points, PWI accounts for various types of alignment errors, including instrument flexure. As a result, the overall pointing accuracy is improved.

PWI Software Features Include:

– PointXP mount modelling, accepts as many star points as desired to add to the pointing model

– Co-developed with PlaneWave Instruments

– Future updates will contain more features and improvements

– Sky Viewer star cart makes object selection easier

– Extensive object database, including online database

The System Requirements to Use the Software is as Follows:

– Operating System: Windows 7, 8, 10

– System Resources: A minimum of 10MB of hard disk space and 64MB of memory required

– Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768 or higher recommended

– Internet Connectivity: Optional to access online SIMBAD astronomical database and enables location and time services

Learn more at www.celestron.com.

The Astronomy Technology Today editorial staff would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the availability of our Solar eclipse equipment guide – The Definitive Equipment Guide to the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Our goal with the 40 page publication is to provide an easy-to-consume introduction to the technological options for viewing and imaging the Great Solar Eclipse. We cover the gamut of options available including building you own solar viewer, solar glasses, smart phones, DSLR cameras, using astronomy telescopes, solar telescopes, using binoculars, solar filters (including a DYI filter option), CCD astro cameras, astro video cameras, webcams and much more. You can view the guide on our website here – its free and there is no requirement to sign up to read the guide.