Vendor: Solar eclipse glasses distributed by UW-Milwaukee are not safe

Posted: 5:32 PM, Aug 17, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-18 03:18:50Z
Solar eclipse glasses from UWM are not safe
Solar eclipse glasses from UWM are not safe

MILWAUKEE -- 500 solar eclipse glasses that were distributed by UW-Milwaukee are not safe to use during the eclipse, the university said Thursday.

The glasses were distributed at two community events in Milwaukee - one at Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. on August 13, and the other at Sugar Maple on August 14. The glasses have the UWM logo on one side and say "CoffeeShop Astrophysics" on the other, the university says.

The vendor, the New York-based Everything Branded, says it now believes the safety certificate provided by its supplier was fake. The glasses should be discarded.

Everything Branded has "been unable to verify that the glasses were, in fact, safe to use to view the eclipse." 

"It looks safe. Our students believed it was safe. The vendor who sold it to us, I talked to him personally today, he believed it was safe," said UMW spokesperson Michelle Johnson.

These glasses have a UWM logo on one side and "CoffeeShop Astrophysics" on the other.  Plus, the ISO safety logo and certification is stamped inside.

"They were advertised as safe. But told the university today that the vendor has since come to believe that the certification they were provided was faked by their supplier," said Johnson.

The university says the safest thing to do is destroy the glasses.

Meanwhile, the university is sold other authentic glasses at their events at the Manfred Olson Planetarium.

The line for what the university now considers the only safe pair of solar eclipse glasses started to form at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The event at the planetarium was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Vickie Roy was the first one because she already lost out on buying a pair the day before.

"We need the glasses," Roy said, who is traveling to Nebraska with her family to view the total eclipse.

On Wednesday, the school sold out before Roy could buy any. The same thing happened to the Cincotta family.

"We didn't get to buy any," said Kari Cincotta.

Student volunteers at the planetarium warned people before they started selling the pairs there were only 40, but the line had nearly 100 people and kept growing.

The fraudulent glasses UWM distributed were missing the name of a manufacturer, which should be on all safe eclipse glasses. You can check the American Astronomical Society to see which are deemed safe.