Hopefully, you didn’t miss out on what was the astronomical event of the decade on August 21 — the mind-blowing eclipse. Chances are if you did tune in, you had solar eclipse glasses on, protecting your precious eyes from the potentially damaging effects of the spectacular view.
But now that the eclipse is over, don’t rush to throw the glasses away!
You could hoard them until the next eclipse in 2024, or you can donate your eclipse specs to Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), a non-profit organization that’s dedicated to bringing all walks of life together through astronomy.
The organization is collecting the glasses to use for future eclipses and delivering them all around the world. They are planning to distribute the glasses to schools in Asia and South America, where in 2019 both continents will experience an eclipse.
According to the space organization, as long as the glasses are compliant with the safety standards of NASA’s and have not been damaged, then they can be reused for the foreseeable future. Mike Simmons, the president of Astronomers Without Borders said:
“This is an opportunity for schools to have a first-hand science experience that they might not otherwise have. Many schools in developing countries don’t have resources for science education and this is a rare opportunity that inspires students and teachers and shows them that science is something they can do. It can be a ray of hope for young people who don’t otherwise see a path to a career like this.”
The organization back in 2013 held a similar program where eclipse glasses were rounded up for schools in West and Central Africa for that year’s solar eclipse. AWB hopes that this type of program will get children interested in the eclipse and get them inspired to learn and maybe pursue fields in engineering, science, mathematics, and technology. So don’t waste those glasses! Be a part of inspiring future generations of astronomers and astronauts.
While the organization hasn’t yet announced an address for donors to send their glassed to, they're trying to spread the word before people throw them away and plans on releasing a list of addresses soon. Simmons said Astronomers Without Borders wants everyone to hang onto their glasses while it arranges for astronomy clubs and companies to receive them all across the U.S.
However, if you want to get rid of them ASAP you can mail your glasses to Astronomers Without Borders’ corporate sponsor:
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Skoch3