spaceSpace and Physics

Don't Throw Your Eclipse Glasses Away – Do Something Amazing With Them Instead


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


Enjoyed the Great American Eclipse? Let kids around the world enjoy their own eclipse too. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

So the President of the United States may not be a fan of wearing protective shades during the solar eclipse, but most Americans and other visitors to the Land of the Free were perfectly happy to take the advice of experts. Now the eclipse is over, plenty will be wondering what do to with those glasses – but as Gizmodo has pointed out, you shouldn’t throw them away.

Sure, the next total solar eclipse to grace America’s shores will be in 2024, so unless you’re willing to travel to see one in South America in 2019, you probably aren’t sure why you should let those shades gather dust. However, there will be plenty of people in South America that will need them, and that’s where Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) comes in.


AWB – an organization that wishes to bond communities across the world through a shared love of astronomy – has said they will take them off your hands. Although no specifics are currently available, the group has announced that they will gather as many as they can to distribute to those who will need them in the future.

As some of you have probably realized, buying these relatively cheaply made glasses online turned out to be surprisingly expensive the nearer the Great American Eclipse got. Plenty of kids in South America and Asia – which will both experience eclipse events in 2019 – will not have access to even this kind of rudimentary technology, and this program will help change that.

AWB are hoping that plenty of companies that originally sold the glasses will get in on the philanthropic action, but either way, they’ll set up a postal framework soon enough. In the meantime, keep a hold of them and wait until the call is made.

Who knows what butterfly effect this may cause? Your pair of glasses could go to a child in a low-income country who will watch the next eclipse, be inspired to take up astronomy or another STEM subject, and grow up to change the world.


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