You Can Actually Do Something Good With Those Eclipse Glasses

Now that the Great American Eclipse has come and gone, what do you do with those cardboard and polymer “eclipse glasses”? Here is an interesting option:

Astronomers Without Borders has offered to take them off your hands so that children will be able to use them in future eclipses. The organization says it will soon announce a program dedicated to redistributing glasses to schools in Asia and South America, where there will be solar eclipses in 2019.

The organization’s mission is to provide astronomy-related education and equipment for developing countries. It raises money to buy new glasses for children, but it is hoping to use this opportunity to build a stockpile. While the organization hasn’t yet announced an address for donors to send glasses to, it’s trying to spread the word before people throw them away and plans on releasing a list of addresses soon. Simmons said Astronomers Without Borders wants people to hang onto their glasses while it arrange for astronomy clubs and companies to receive them.

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Interesting astronomic occurence

March 20 will mark the vernal equinox, of course, but there will also be a super moon and a solar eclipse.

It would really be interesting if we could see it. Solar eclipses are not world-wide, and this one will occur in the North Atlantic; if you are not fortunate enough to be in Iceland or Norway, you won’t get to experience the eclipse. And solar eclipses only occur when the moon is new, so we won’t see the super moon (though the tidal effects will still occur, of course).

You can see the solar eclipse on-line here.

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Partial solar eclipse today

How to Safely Watch the Oct. 23 Partial Solar Eclipse

Throughout history, total eclipses, in which the entire sun is blocked from view, have offered scientists the chance to see the faint light of the sun’s atmosphere called the corona, without its being overwhelmed by the sun itself. Total eclipses provide views of that atmosphere, which we otherwise can only get with specialized telescopes – both in space and on the ground — that block out the bright light of the sun. As a partial eclipse, the Oct. 23 eclipse is of less scientific interest, but it still makes for a great view!

However, it is never safe to look at the sun with the naked eye. Even during a partial eclipse, when only a very small part of the sun is visible, viewing it without eye protection risks permanent eye damage or blindness. Listed below are a few ways of safely watching the eclipse. No matter which recommended technique you choose, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and give your eyes a rest. And, remember, don’t use regular sunglasses — they don’t offer your eyes sufficient protection.

Number 14 welding glass (or higher)is the only safe way to directly visualize an eclipse.

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Partial solar eclipse coming up next week

On October 23rd, we will be treated to a partial solar eclipse; this one is interesting to me because it will occur just before sundown. In Shreveport the eclipse should start at about 5:00 CDT, and will still be going on at sunset at 6:32. You can find the time for your area here.

Mark your calendars!

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