Millions of Americans watched the solar eclipse Monday, seeing either a partial or a total eclipse depending on where they watched. So what to do with those millions of special glasses and viewing cards now? Don’t throw them away, experts say.
Indiana University Bloomington passed out 10,000 viewing cards and is now collecting them back to use again in seven years.
In 2024, Bloomington is in the direct path of totality for another total solar eclipse.
In Fort Wayne, Manchester University physics professor and observatory director Christer Watson is collecting unwanted pairs of glasses at the Science Central and plans to distribute them for free in the future.
Thousands of eclipse glasses were sold or distributed through schools, public viewing parties, retailers and science museums in Fort Wayne for the Great American Eclipse.
The science museum sold about 4,500 glasses this year, said Andrea Yeater, Science Central’s marketing manager.
Watson told The Journal Gazette that Fort Wayne will be on the edge of totality for the 2024 eclipse.
“Seven years is a long time for one person to hold onto one pair of glasses,” he said.
NASA officials say eclipse glasses can be reused indefinitely if the filters aren’t scratched, punctured or torn.
Watson said glasses should be kept dry and stored in a container to avoid scratches. He said he will ensure that donated pairs aren’t damaged and meet safety standards.
“We’ll make sure they’re safe,” he said.
Astronomers Without Borders also plans to collect unwanted glasses and redistribute them to people in other countries for future eclipses.
Becca Costello contributed to this report.