Rush is on to secure safe viewing glasses as rare total solar eclipse approaches

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The total eclipse is just days away, and the rush is on to obtain viewing glasses. But, predators are taking advantage. (KGO-TV)

The total eclipse is just days away, and the rush is on to obtain viewing glasses. But, predators are taking advantage.

The American Astronomical Society is warning that most supplies are depleted, and that counterfeit glasses have flooded the market.

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Scientists say they have found fake glasses with fake certification, and they may not protect your eyes when you look at the eclipse.

"What you really need are these. These are eclipse viewing glasses because of course you never want to actually look up at the sky unprotected. The sun will burn your eyeballs," Scientist Robyn Higdon with the San Francisco Exploratorium said.

Thousands of solar viewing glasses have been given away or sold for a few dollars. You can look through them safely, but not if they're counterfeit.

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"There's some concern about whether or not glasses are safe. NASA's been testing glasses from all over the world just to make sure everyone's eyeballs are going to be safe for this," Higdon said.

Hidgon says you can test your glasses before the eclipse to make sure they're safe.

"One good way you can test at home, is if you put these glasses on, if you can see anything, they're not safe," Higdon said.

The American Astronomical Society says you should not be able to see anything through them except the sun itself or something comparably bright.

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For example with safe glasses you may be able to detect unfrosted light bulbs, a bright halogen light bulb, or a bright LED light such as your cellphone flashlight.

The ISO certification number should appear on all legitimate glasses. But the American Astronomical Society reports some vendors have simply stamped this code on the fake ones.

Amazon recalled a batch of glasses because it could not confirm they were legitimate.

Higdon notes they'll have safe viewing at the Exploratorium.

"Also, to experience it with a crowd of people, it's a very social experience," Higdon said.

On the day of the eclipse, we'll bring you live coverage on TV and online. Click here for full coverage on this rare event.

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