OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Preparing for the eclipse: Be respectful and beware of scams

Oct 9, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2023, 4:32 pm

Two people view an annular eclipse from Capitol Reef National Park....

Christine Muth of Idaho and Diane Barton of Mexico view an annular eclipse from Capitol Reef National Park on Sunday, May 20, 2012. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Here’s our interview 👇 with Utah’s NASA Ambassador, Patrick Wiggins!

 

SALT LAKE CITY — National parks in Utah are preparing to welcome visitors coming to see the annular solar eclipse. Viewers should also be aware of scammers.

The eclipse begins in the state on Oct. 14 at 9:24 a.m., and the path of greatest coverage crosses Canyonlands, Marysvale and Monument Valley. 

That means it will cross Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and Grand Staircase Escalante National Parks. The highlight of these kinds of eclipses is the “Ring of Fire,” where the moon is too far away from the Earth to completely block out the sun. This creates a bright ring around the moon. 

Marysvale City Secretary Connie Buell said the city is used to crowds, but not like this.

“Our best case scenario is that people will fall in love with our town and come back at a later date when it’s less busy,” said Buell.

Marysvale is home to the Paiute ATV trail, where it plans to host excursions to see the eclipse. 

Canyonlands National Park Ranger Karen Garthwait said everyone visiting or living in the eclipse’s path wants to see something special. She said respect and safety are paramount. This eclipse is not total, meaning you’ll need proper viewing glasses, for you, your family and your camera.

Scammers and faulty eye gear

It’s also important to note that scammers are flourishing on e-commerce sites and trying to sell faulty eye protection gear.

The American Astronomical Society said eclipse glasses abound in online marketplaces at a low price, without the proper testing and safety measures.

According to AAS, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are a hotspot for fake eclipse eyewear.

If you’re on the hunt for this week’s eclipse, watch out for products endorsed by NASA.  NASA doesn’t approve these products.

Avoid scouring e-commerce sites right before the eclipse for a cheap alternative or because everywhere else is sold out.

In order to combat the consequences of eclipse viewing without protection, such as blindness, AAS provides a list of safe sellers including Alpine Astronomical, American Paper Optics and Daystar Filters. If the seller is not a part of their list, it’s probably best you don’t buy it.

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Preparing for the eclipse: Be respectful and beware of scams