Don’t throw away your eclipse viewing glasses!
The solar filters with the chic cardboard frames transformed from the summer’s hottest commodity into an amusing souvenir the instant the big event was over in the U.S. on Monday. But they can still do a lot of good in other parts of the world.
Astronomers Without Borders, a California-based organization, wants to collect the glasses and donate them to schools in South America and Asia to protect kids’ eyes when eclipses cross those continents in 2019.
"The excitement of the eclipse in the U.S. is the same in undeveloped countries, but they rarely have access to simple things like this, especially in rural areas," Astronomers Without Borders President Mike Simmons told TODAY.
"We'll see that they get distributed to schools and other organizations that would never have this chance otherwise."
A similar effort helped AWB send almost 14,000 pairs of glasses to schools in Africa when an eclipse took place there in 2013.
AWB has collection centers taking glasses in around the country with more signing up all the time, Simmons said. A list of them will be available on the group’s website soon. You can also send your glasses to:
AWB Eclipse Glasses Donation Program
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
The group will inspect every pair to make sure it's undamaged and certified safe. "The filter material is pretty hardy and should be OK if they're sent in folded flat or laid out flat," Simmons said.
If you're wondering whether you can keep your glasses to view the next solar eclipse, the answer is yes, as long as they are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard and the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, NASA says. Some glasses include warnings that you should throw them away after three years, but those messages are outdated and don't apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard, the agency notes.