Organization seeks used eclipse glasses

DeKalb High School science teacher Josh Wilson is collecting used eclipse viewing glasses to send to Astronomers Without Borders.

If you still have some of those eclipse viewing glasses lying around, don’t throw them away just yet ... or at all.

There is an interesting call going out to Americans right now asking that, instead of throwing those eclipse viewing glasses away, people donate them for a good cause.

Mike Simmons is president of an organization called Astronomers Without Borders. The organization, he said, uses the sky for its laboratory. Meaning, everyone can take part, especially during big events like an eclipse ... if they have a safe way to do so.

“We realized that we could do something with all those glasses out there and we thought, well we can gather up quite a bit more because they’re all out there and most people are not going to have a need for them,” Simmons said.

Simmons said he feels astronomy can serve as a form of common ground for people around the world, and something like an eclipse is a big enough event to get everyone’s attention.

“It’s something that transcends the geopolitical and cultural and other borders that we create, and when we share things through astronomy, we learn to sympathize with each other based on something that we’re all passionate about,” he said.

The organization doesn’t want anyone in the world to miss out on major events like an eclipse just because they don’t have easy access to safety glasses ... and neither does Josh Wilson.

“From what I understand, this group is donating them and allowing people that can’t necessarily get them to be able to protect their eyes when they see the eclipses,” Wilson said.

Wilson teaches science at DeKalb High School. Not only does he plan to donate all the glasses purchased for students at the school to Astronomers Without Borders, he’s also collecting others to send along as well.

“So far, it’s been pretty good. I probably already have 40 or 50 pairs donated,” he explained. “We’re hoping to collect some more.”

Both Simmons and Wilson want to get people excited about a subject they both hold dear to their hearts.

“It’s something that can inspire teachers and students to do something more,” Simmons said.

“I know I was excited about the eclipse and science and hopefully my students were excited about it,” Wilson added.

If you would like to find out more information about donating your eclipse viewing glasses, you can get more information by visiting astonomerswithoutborders.org.

Alex Flippin can be reached at alex.flippin@knpn.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowFlippin.