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Global Initiative by Astronomers Without Borders to Recycle Eclipse Glasses
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Global Initiative by Astronomers Without Borders to Recycle Eclipse Glasses
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Mar 27, 2024

In a significant global outreach effort, Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) is spearheading a campaign to gather gently-used solar eclipse glasses across North America, aiming to redistribute them to underprivileged communities and educational institutions worldwide for upcoming solar eclipses. This initiative is set against the backdrop of the April 8 total solar eclipse that will enchant millions across North America, making it a timely and environmentally conscious project.

Partnering with an array of grassroots organizations, including libraries, schools, museums, city governments, and commercial businesses, AWB is rapidly establishing collection centers across the US and Canada. These centers serve as the initial step in preparing the glasses for their next journey-avoiding unnecessary waste and extending their utility beyond a single event.

Warby Parker, a key collaborator in this endeavor, not only contributes financially to AWB but also leverages its extensive network of over 240 retail outlets across the United States as collection points. Following collection, the glasses are transferred to storage facilities for inspection and preparation for future eclipses.

A key partner providing essential support is the Greenbank Observatory in West Virginia, which has offered storage space. Here, volunteers thoroughly inspect each pair of glasses to ensure they adhere to safety standards and are free from damage or counterfeits, ensuring their readiness for their next mission.

This campaign marks AWB's second recycling effort following the successful redistribution of glasses collected after the 2017 American solar eclipse. Since then, hundreds of thousands of vetted glasses have reached students in the paths of solar eclipses across South America, Africa, and Asia, enriching educational and outreach programs.

The endeavor symbolizes a bridge connecting communities worldwide, enabling safe eclipse viewing experiences and fostering a sense of unity and shared wonderment at the cosmos. Moreover, it highlights the organization's commitment to sustainable practices and educational enrichment, underscoring the importance of global cooperation in scientific outreach.

To further support this cause, AWB has introduced the 'One Eclipse' app, a companion tool for eclipse viewing, with proceeds directly benefiting the glasses recycling program. This digital initiative complements the physical collection effort, broadening the impact and reach of AWB's mission.

Astronomers Without Borders continues to seek sponsors to assist with the logistics of processing, storing, and shipping the donated glasses, ensuring the program's ongoing success and the fulfillment of its mission to make astronomical events accessible to all.

Related Links
Astronomers Without Borders
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily

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