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Help your local library share the eclipse!

Monday, June 5, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sharon Shanks
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Help your local library share the eclipse!


Two Million Eclipse-Viewing Glasses Distributed Free through Public Libraries in the U.S. for this August’s Big Eclipse

More Knowledgeable Volunteers Needed to Help

More than two million pairs of eclipse glasses are being distributed free through public libraries in the U.S. for the eclipse of the Sun taking place on August 21, 2017.

About 4.800 public libraries have received a package of free safe-viewing glasses, plus a 24-page information booklet on how best to do public outreach programs about the eclipse. The project is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, with additional help from Google.

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 has the STARNet network of libraries (supported by NASA and other organizations) to help libraries with space-science programming. SSI’s National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) is managing the program, with more information available at: There you can see an interactive map of participating libraries at that site.

The eclipse information booklet libraries received can be downloaded free by anyone at: The 24-page booklet includes background information on eclipses, times when the eclipse is visible over different parts of the country, safe viewing techniques, suggestions for good outreach partners for libraries, and more.

Astronomers, astronomy hobbyists, museum educators, park rangers, and science teachers will be partnering with libraries in their own communities, helping to put on eclipse outreach events, but more people are needed. Since an estimated 500 million people in North America will be able to see the eclipse on August 21, everyone who knows about eclipse science and viewing is urged to become involved with a library in their community, helping to get the continent ready for the big event.

The August 21, 2017 eclipse of the Sun will be total on a narrow path, only 60 to 70 miles wide, stretching from a beach in Oregon to the barrier islands of the coast of South Carolina. During a total eclipse, the Moon fully covers the Sun, the sky turns so dark that stars come out, and the faint halo of an atmosphere around the Sun becomes visible.

The rest of the U.S. (and Canada and Mexico) will see a partial eclipse, where the Moon covers only a part of the Sun and the sky stays brighter. Anytime the Sun is not fully covered by the Moon, people must protect their eyes with special eclipse glasses or by projecting a safe image of the Sun.


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Andrew Fraknoi

Chair, Astronomy Department

Foothill College

12345 El Monte Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022



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