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Drop off eclipse glasses at SNH

By Ella Bronaugh

Intern

The Great American Eclipse has come and gone, leaving many Americans with leftover eclipse glasses.

But instead of discarding these glasses, locals can join the Suffolk News-Herald in an effort to repurpose these glasses for safe eclipse-viewing in developing countries.

Millions of Americans purchased eclipse glasses to watch the solar eclipse on Monday, so Astronomers Without Borders and Explore Scientific are taking this opportunity to collect and reuse the eclipse glasses that would otherwise be thrown away.

“With probably more than 100 million eclipse glasses potentially headed to the trash after the U.S. eclipse, we’re collecting them to send to schools in South America and Asia for eclipses in 2019,” Mike Simmons, president of Astronomers Without Borders, stated in an email. “We’ve done this on a small scale before through crowdfunding, but with the public’s help in 2019, we’ll be able to help far more students participate in a first-hand, inspirational science experience in countries where the glasses aren’t available.”

Countries across South America and Asia are expecting a few total and partial solar eclipses throughout 2019 but are not always able to provide safe eclipse viewing glasses to the population. This initiative provides Americans an opportunity to bring used eclipse glasses to their local drop-off site, which will then be donated to Asian and South American schools and institutions that do not have access to this commodity. Donating used eclipse glasses will help protect the eyesight of the eclipse-viewers in developing countries that would not otherwise have the means to do so.

Simmons said the glasses may be recycled yet again after the 2019 eclipses. He was excited about the number of people who want to donate their eclipse glasses.

“The response so far has been phenomenal,” he said.

The Suffolk News-Herald is supporting this effort by becoming a drop-off site for eclipse glasses.

“We are excited to be a collection site for this worthy effort of Astronomers Without Borders and Explore Scientific,” said John Carr, publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald. “We hope all of our loyal readers will join us in this endeavor.”

Eclipse glasses can be sent in even if they may expire within three years, as long as they are in good shape and comply with the latest ISO standards.

According to the Astronomers Without Borders website, the filter material is required not to degrade. The paper material that makes up the “frames” of the glasses may be damaged by inappropriate storage, which is why most eclipse glasses have an expiration date.

Any glasses that are donated will be reviewed by the Astronomers Without Borders and Explore Scientific team to ensure that they are certified safe.

Eclipse glasses can be dropped off at the Suffolk News-Herald office, 130 S. Saratoga St., during regular office hours, which are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Eclipse glasses should be dropped off by the end of September.