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Wait! Dig those eclipse glasses out of the garbage

Here comes the sun. Astronomers Without Borders will be collecting the protective eyewear for use in future eclipses worldwide.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Doggone it, hope you didn't throw your eclipse glasses away.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Whether you enjoyed an awe-inspiring day in the path of totality or bummed out under a cloudy sky, your eclipse viewing is over for now.

But don't chuck your eclipse glasses into a landfill now that Monday has come and gone. The protective eyewear can survive to see solar wonders once again.

Astronomers Without Borders will be collecting eclipse glasses to distribute to schools in countries where future eclipses will be viewed, the group has announced on its website. Next up: Asia and South America, where solar eclipses will occur in 2019.

"Hold on to your glasses!" the site reads. "Ask the company or organization you got them from if they will be taking part. We will announce details soon after the eclipse. We have corporate partners who will be receiving and processing them for us"

Don't pop your glasses in the mail just yet. "Please DO NOT send them to AWB!" the site begs. "Sign up for our newsletter for more details or follow us on Facebook."

Some eclipse watchers on the group's Facebook page questioned whether used glasses could safely be used repeatedly. But NASA's eclipse web page points out that previous warnings of eclipse glasses expiring refer to an older generation of glasses or those that do not meet current standards.

"If your eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through them for as long as you wish," NASA's site reads. "Furthermore, if the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely. Some glasses/viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn't look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015."

Astronomers Without Borders is a nonprofit group that seeks to use astronomy to bring people around the world together. "Online programs and special events of various kinds allow us to share our passion with each other," the group says on Facebook. "We all share the same sky."

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