What to do with solar eclipse glasses

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By Megan Park, Photo Editor

The solar eclipse on Aug. 21 drew attention from all over the country. Since the next solar eclipse is not coming until 2024, many people do not know what to do with their solar eclipse glasses.

Solar eclipse glasses reduce sunlight to safe levels so that you don’t injure your eyes while looking directly at the eclipse. Because the glasses are specifically made for looking at the eclipse and the next eclipse is not coming for another seven years many people do not have a reason to continue holding on to them. Here are a few things you can do with yours.

Donate

Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) is taking glasses and sending them to various countries where there will be future eclipses. ┬áIf eclipse glasses are compliant with NASA’s safety standards and are not damaged, they can be reused indefinitely. According to AWB, they hope these programs will build on people’s interest in astronomy and inspire them to pursue STEM fields. You can also donate to schools, libraries and recreation programs for astronomy activities.

Sunspots

According to NASA, solar eclipse glasses can be used to look at sunspots. Sunspots are cooler spots on the sun appearing from time to time on the sun’s surface, appearing dark by contrast with its surroundings.

Get creative

Total solar eclipses are incredibly rare (it took around a century for one to be seen coast-to-coast in the United States). To save the memory, frame your glasses, add them to a display in your house, or pin them to a bulletin board! Being able to witness the solar eclipse is not an event you’ll want to forget anytime soon.

Save them

The next solar eclipse to be visible from the United States will be on Apr. 8, 2024. Some glasses will work after seven years, however, be check the expiration date. Most of the glasses that were on the market for this past eclipse will expire within three years. If they are of the few that will last seven years, however, be sure to put them in a safe place and be sure not to forget where you placed them.

Recycle

If you do plan on throwing out your glasses, make sure to do it correctly. Thanks to the Space Science Institute, more than two million glasses were handed out across 7,000 libraries. The only way to guarantee that everyone will be able to step outside and watch solar eclipses in the future is by treating the earth with kindness and recycling. Be sure to remove the solar lenses before tossing your glasses in the recycling bin, however.