Thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (with additional help from Google,) 2 million pairs of eclipse glasses will be distributed free through public libraries in anticipation of this August’s solar eclipse. More than 2,000 public libraries will receive a package of free glasses, plus an information booklet on how best to do public outreach about the eclipse.
The project was conceived by three astronomers, Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College), Dennis Schatz (Pacific Science Center), and Douglas Duncan (University of Colorado.) Together they brought the idea to Paul Dusenbery at the Space Science Institute, which already had an active network of libraries working with NASA to present space-science library programming. Their STARNet library network project is managing the program, with much more information available at: http://www.starnetlibraries.org/2017eclipse/
Many libraries will need public-outreach help from astronomers, amateurs, and educators who know about eclipses. This help will be most useful in the months and weeks leading up to the eclipse, so you can participate locally even if you plan to be in the total eclipse path on August 21. A clickable map at the above website can show you participating libraries, and you could also approach your own library and tell them about the project. This is a great way for everyone in the astronomical community to be of service to the public before the eclipse.
Chair, Astronomy Department
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