Public libraries across the U.S will be distributing over 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses to skywatchers to watch on Aug.21, 2017, the total solar eclipse sweeping over the country. The glasses will offer a major outreach program commenced by the Space Science Institute (SSI).
The Great American Eclipse will pass along a stretch of land from Oregon to South Carolina over the U.S. Viewers in the path of totality, span about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide, may see the moon directly passing in front of the sun, turning day into twilight. Skywatchers outside that path can see a partial eclipse, when part of the sun will be in view.
Looking up at the sun, at such time can cause serious eye damage, and this is why skywatchers need special solar-viewing glasses. Nearly, 4800 library organizations will be giving throughout the country free glasses as a part of an outreach project funded by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to SSI, a nonprofit corporation focused on science research, education and outreach. The project is supported by Google, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, according to a SSI statement.
“The Moore Foundation is ready to help 2 million eyes enjoy and comprehend this astronomical spectacle with astronomical spectacles,” said Dr. Robert Kirshner, chief program science officer at the Moore Foundation.
Apart from the eclipse-viewing glasses, registered organizations receive an informational booklet regarding the solar eclipse including, times and locations for viewing events, techniques of safe viewing and suggestions for public-outreach programs about the event. The informational booklet can be downloaded or is available to everyone.