The Solar Eclipse Viewing Event scheduled for Monday, Aug. 21 has been canceled due to a major recall of eclipse-viewing glasses by Amazon. Some manufacturers had been selling glasses that were not up to NASA’s safety standards, even though they were advertised as NASA compliant eclipse glasses.
“They even had the NASA logo on them,” said Oceanside library’s supervisor of community services, Tony Iovino, who organized the event. Iovino said he was “extremely disappointed” about having to cancel.
“We could not, in good conscience, run the event without enough safety glasses for everyone.” Iovino said. In a statement, he cited “the combination of the likely crowd, and our now diminished supply.”
When about 100 people showed up at the Library’s pre-eclipse educational event in early August, as opposed to the 15 to 20 that the Library expected, they figured that there would be more interest in the eclipse than they had planned for.
They had originally ordered 300 sets of glasses in April. When they recently tried to order hundreds more, in response to the higher-than-expected interest, they found that the manufacturer that they initially bought from had sold out. So instead, they purchased from a different dealer, Runfor.
On Sunday, Aug. 13 Amazon sent out emails to customers who had purchased eclipse viewing glasses, informing them that many sellers were claiming that their products were certified by the American Astronomical Society, when in fact, they had not been.
Iovino said that the library still had some AAS approved glasses. Half of them were given out on Friday morning. In a Facebook post, the library said that they would begin handing them out, first come, first serve, at 9:30 a.m.
According to Iovino, “They started lining up at 7:30 in the morning. I knew I didn’t have enough glasses for everybody.” He said that if he had waited for 9:30, the line would have stretched around the block, and there was no use in making everyone stand out in the rain.
The second half of the “good” eclipse glasses will be handed out tomorrow, Saturday, at 9:30 a.m., at the Oceanside library. The library spaced the handouts over two days, Iovino said, to ensure that people who worked on weekdays would have a fair shot at getting the glasses.