2 million free eclipse glasses coming to US libraries


At least two million pairs of eclipse glasses will be distributed freely to sky watchers in United States by public libraries due to total solar eclipse the country will experience on Aug 21, 2017. These glasses will be given by an outreach program created by Space Science Institute (SSI).

According to the institute, the Big American Eclipse will cover an extended land between Oregon to South Carolina. Sky watcher along this path of totality, about 113 kilometers wide, they will be seeing the moon directly in front of the sun, causing day to twilight.

Viewers outside will see a partial eclipse along their path, while seeing part of the sun

It is said that gazing at the sun, when it is covered by the moon partially, will lead to serious eye problem, this is the reason sky watchers are advise to put on the solar-viewing glasses. 4,800 library organizations in the country will be offering free glasses as their way of reaching out as part of the organizational project, usually funded by grant from Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to SSI, these are nonprofitable organization focusing on science research, outreach and education. Also supporting this project are the National Science Foundation (NSF), Google and NASA, following a statement made by SSI.

Apart from the eclipse-viewing glasses, registered groups will be offering an informational booklet on the solar eclipse, this includes safe locations for viewing events technically, and updating public-outreach programs concerning the event.

This is said to be once-in-a-lifetime chance for libraries and their communities to participate together during a celestial event like this. Project director Paul Dusenbery, of the SSI National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL), said “Many groups, like NASA, the American Astronomical Society, and the National Science Foundation are working jointly to enlighten people about understanding how to view the eclipse safely, and we are happy to be among this vital educational effort.”

The solar eclipse either partial or total will have an effect on millions of sky viewer in the U.S., this is the reason an educator, amateur and professional astronomers are laud to support local public libraries that are participating in the outreach events. Solar System Ambassadors of NASA, park rangers, museum educators and science teachers will also partner libraries in their communities to prepare for the big event. An interactive map for event are available online, though applications for receiving free eclipse-viewing glasses have ended, libraries and educators can still buy discounted glasses via American Paper Optics.