There will be tens of millions of Americans looking skyward today to watch the eclipse. While everyone (hopefully) knows that you MUST wear special "eclipse glasses" while doing so, there is some confusion as to which glasses are actually safe.
Consider that during a solar eclipse, the amount of light radiation from the sun drastically increases. This means that watching can cause serious, even permanent damage to your eyes.
How, you ask? The light radiation can literally cook the rods and cones of your retina.
If you don't believe it, ask someone who permanently damaged his eyes during the solar eclipse of 1962. Yikes!
Are your eclipse glasses safe?
Amazon has recently issued refunds to thousands of customers who bought "fake" eclipse glasses from their site. (what kind of person would make "fake" eclipse glasses?!)
In fact, the American Astronomical Society has only certified eclipse glasses from 12 companies, so millions of glasses out there might not be safe.
If you aren't sure, try putting your eclipse glasses on right now, and look at the sky.
It should be really dark. So dark, in fact, that the only thing you should be able to see is the sun.
Sunglasses are nearly useless during a solar eclipse, so if your eclipse glasses allow you to see people and objects around you, they probably aren't sufficient.
Ok, So, are YOUR eclipse glasses safe?
Here's a helpful long answer to that question from the American Astronomical Society.
Have fun watching the eclipse today, but be safe!