It was quite a spectacle. For several hours on Monday, Americans got to witness a rare total eclipse of the sun.
While on a global scale, eclipses like Monday’s event are not rare; but a solar eclipse is not a sight we get to see in our own backyard too often. As a matter of fact, the last total eclipse in the Lower 48 was in 1979.
With such a rare event taking place on Monday, many of us rushed out to buy a pair of those special solar glasses, which make it safe to view the sun during an eclipse. But now that the eclipse has come and gone, you may be asking what can you do with those solar eclipse glasses.
One option, according to NASA, is to preserve them for the next eclipse. In 2024, the United States will once again see a total solar eclipse. Instead of the swath extending from coast-to-coast, the eclipse of 2024 will run from border-to-border.
While it used to be said that eclipse glasses had a three-year lifespan, NASA said that solar glasses that are well preserved and without scratches and be reused indefinitely. Given the nearly four-decade wait Americans had for Monday’s eclipse, it certainly might be worth hanging on to your eclipse glasses for the 2024 event.
There is also a partial eclipse that will take place for much of the Southwest in 2023.
But if you’re the type that likes to avoid clutter, Astronomers Without Borders is collecting eclipse glasses to reuse for events that take place elsewhere in the world. Astronomers Without Borders said it plans to distribute eclipse glasses to schools in Asia and South America for events taking place in 2019.
The group said it will announce plans to collect eclipse glasses in the coming days on its Facebook page.