For months and months, countless eclipse-viewing hopefuls have been buying up special protective shades so that they could gaze skyward on August 21st and enjoy the beautiful celestial event in all its glory. Now that the 2017 eclipse is in our rear view, you might think the cheap-o paper glasses should be destined for the trash can. After all, what are you supposed to do with flimsy shades that won’t be useful again here in the United States until 2024, right? Wrong! Those once sought-after glasses still have plenty of life left in them, and aspiring amateur astronomers would love to get their hands on them.
A group called Astronomers Without Borders is planning a collection drive for used eclipse glasses which it will distribute to schools in areas where the 2019 eclipse will be visible, giving students the opportunity to fall in love with astronomy. In 2019, eclipses will cross land in both South America and Asia, and outfitting youngsters who might not have access to the shades will ensure that they can enjoy the event and put those paper glasses to good use.
The group hasn’t yet announced exactly where the glasses will be gathered in each area, but it’s reportedly planning to partner with astronomy clubs and companies across the United States to facilitate the collection drive and prepare them for shipment to areas where they are needed. Astronomers Without Borders will be announcing the details on its Facebook page sooner rather than later, so keep an eye on it and give your glasses a second chance at life.