In case you haven't heard, it's not safe to look directly at the sun.
To safely view the epic solar eclipse that will cut a dramatic shadow across the United States on August 21, you'll need a special pair of ultra-dark sunglasses. Without glasses, the sun's rays could cause permanent damage to your eyes.
But as demand for these glasses has skyrocketed, scams have entered the market.
The American Astronomical Society said earlier this week that it updated its safety advice "in response to alarming reports" of unsafe "eclipse viewers" popping up online.
The organization says buyers should be skeptical of glasses even if they're stamped with an ISO seal -- which has been used in the past to indicate which glasses comply with standards set by the International Organization for Standardization.
"It now appears that some companies are printing the ISO logo and certification label on fake eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers made with materials that do not block enough [light]," AAS said.
Some vendors are even going so far as to put falsified test results on their websites to support their bogus claims, AAS said.
To help combat the fraudsters, the organization posted a list of vendors from which you can snag a pair of glasses that are guaranteed to work.
The organization also has a list of retailers that stock glasses made by verified manufacturers at some (but not all) of their locations. They include 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Lowe's and Walmart.
Most eclipse viewers are priced at around $2 or $3.
AAS spokesperson Rick Fienberg pointed out that products not included on the list aren't necessarily unsafe -- they just haven't been vetted by AAS experts.
If you've already purchased a pair of specs, AAS has a tip for testing them out.
When you put them on, "you shouldn't be able to see anything...except the sun itself," the organizations says.
"If you can see lights 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," AAS said in a statement.
The group also warns against using some eclipse-viewing home remedies -- such as sunglasses or wearing a welding mask.
Ordinary sunglasses are not up to snuff.
"Even very dark ones are not safe for looking directly at the sun; they transmit many thousands of times too much sunlight," AAS says.
The group recommends only using a welding mask if you're certain of its "shade number," an indication of how dark the mask's tint is. To view the eclipse, you'll need something at a 12, 13 or 14. A shade number of 13 is ideal, AAS says, but those are hard to come by.
Massive crowds are expected at viewing spots across America when the moon passes in front of the sun, blocking its light, the morning of August 21.
The 70-mile-wide swath of land where the full spectacle can be seen stretches from Oregon to South Carolina, with 12 states in its path.
The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the continental U.S. was about 40 years ago, on February 26, 1979. And it's been nearly a century since a total solar eclipse was visible coast to coast.
Locations in the Greater St. Louis area where eclipse glasses can be purchased
|Archangels Gift Shop 3461 Hampton Ave St Louis MO 63139||Price of the glasses: Price $1 to $3 depending on quantity Method of payment: Cash or credit cards Hours available: Open Tuesday to Friday 11am to 6pm Open Saturday. 11am to 5pm Phone Number: (314) 645 2256|
|Challenger Learning Center 205 Brotherton Lane Ferguson, MO 63135||Price of the glasses: $2 each Method of payment: Cash or card Hours available for purchase: 8:00 am to 3:30 pm Phone Number: (314) 521-6205|
|De Soto Public Library 712 South Main Street De Soto, MO 63020||Price of the glasses: $1 each Method of payment: Cash Hours available for purchase: Monday 9-5, Tuesday 9-7, Wed. 9-5, Thurs. 9-5, Friday 9-5, Sat. 9-2 Website: http://dspl.missouri.org/2017-great-american-eclipse-de-soto/ Phone Number: (636) 586-3858|
|Eastern Missouri Dark Sky Observers 10575 West Greenshire Lane Marthasville, MO 63357 (private residence, please call (636) 433-5479 to schedule pickup of glasses)||Price of the glasses: $2.00 per pair plus cost of mailing or if nearby will meet at agreed upon location (as long as supplies last) Method of payment: Cash -Check Hours available: call or email. Phone Number: (636) 433-5479 or email email@example.com Ask for Rick Schwentker, President|
|East Saint Louis Public Library 5300 State Street East St. Louis, IL. 62202||We have 400 eclipse glasses for sell. Cost $2.00 each. For anyone wishing to purchase all 400 the cost is $1.75/each. Phone number: (618) 397-0991 Ask for Ms. Dansberry|
|Festus Public Library 400 W. Main St. Festus, MO 63028||Price of the glasses: $1.00 Method of payment (cash, check, ccard): Cash, check if over $5.00 Hours available for purchase: M-Th: 9 am – 7 pm; F: 9 am – 5 pm; Sat: 9 am – 1 pm Website address: www.cityoffestus.org/departments/library Phone Number: (636) 937-2017|
|Geo Communication Services 545 N. Commercial St. Clair, MO 63077||Price of the glasses: We have ECLIPSE VIEWERS, glasses and "Get Your Eclipse on Route 66" buttons $2 each. Custom Eclipse Postcards - $1. Viewers are 3x5 cards suitable for intermittent viewing. Glasses are plain white, suitable for kids or people with contacts. Will mail up to 5 glasses for $2 S&H or multiples thereof. Other items/quantities please call for shipping quote or to arrange pickup Method of payment: Cash/Check/ CC via Paypal Hours available: 9:30 am - 5 pm. Phone Number: (636) 667-4162 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://geocommunications.net|
|Old Bus Stop Coffee Shop and Art Gallery 545 N. Commercial St. Clair MO 63077||Price of the glasses: $10 ECLIPSE VIEWERS $2 each Viewers are 3x5 cards suitable for intermittent viewing "Get Your Eclipse on Route 66" Buttons -$2 4 different style Eclipse Postcards $1 each Old Route 66 Bus Stop Method of payment: Cash/check/Credit Card over $10 Hours available: Tuesday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. most weeks Phone Number: (636) 606-6136|
|Owensville-Rosebud Tourism102 S. Cuba St. Owensville, MO 65066||Price of glasses - $25/bundle of 50 ($.50 each) Method of payment: Cash or check Phone Number: (573) 437-4275 or email email@example.com for shipping/delivery information.|
|Saint Louis Science Center Planetarium/Gift Shop 5050 Oakland Ave. St. Louis, MO 63110||SOLD OUT as of AUG. 17 Price of the glasses: Book with 2 glasses $10.99+tax and individual glasses are $1.99 + tax. Method of payment: Cash and Credit card. No checks. Hours available: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm Phone Number: (314) 289-4466|
|Scopedawg Optics LLC 3115 Lake Ridge Dr. Highland, IL 62249 (private residence, please call (618) 401-3342 to schedule pickup of glasses)||Price of the glasses $3 each or 4 for $10; Discounts available for larger volumes; Plastic glasses also available ($20). Method of payment: Cash, check, ccard or Paypal. Hours available for purchase 24/7. Phone Number: (618) 401-3342 Address where the glasses can be purchased: order online at www.scopedawgoptics.com or call to arrange for pickup|
|The St. Louis Storytelling Festival, a University of Missouri Program 4207 Lindell Blvd., Ste. 400 St. Louis, MO 63108||Price of the glasses $2/pair, $18/10 pair, $62.50/50 pair and $100/100 pair (see note) Method of payment: Cash, check or card Hours available for purchase: In-person – 9 – 5 pm MF; by phone, 24/7. Website address: www.stlstorytellingfestival.com Phone Number: (314) 266-4833 Any special notes: Our glasses each come with a detachable coupon, which can be entered into a raffle drawing at our Festival – May 3-6, 2017. Prizes include a free space mission tour at the Challenger Learning Center in St. Louis; free CD’s from NASA Native American storytellers; scholarship to a summer 2017 Science storytelling camp; and other great prizes from science organizations in St. Louis.|
|Washington, Missouri Tourism Visitor Center, 301 W. Front St. Washington, MO 63090||Price of the glasses:
Method of payment: Cash or check is accepted. Hours available for purchase – 10am – 5pm, every day of the week Phone Number: (636) 239-7575