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The Eclipse was Awesome! Now what?

The kids and I made it to Newberry, South Carolina on Monday for a wonderful eclipse experience. We hung out on Main Street with Eric from Maryland and his solar telescope along with a bunch of other really nice people. The eclipse was absolutely breath taking. We had just enough clouds to build some drama as we approached totality but they skedaddled at just the right moment for the most perfect 2 minutes and 43 seconds. I still get the feels when I think about it and the best part was sharing it with my two boys. I know this is an experience they will never forget.

During the eclipse there were a few things I really wanted to see (more on these in the previous post). The total eclipse (duh!), shadow bands and a view of Mercury. The corona was so incredibly bright that there was not chance of seeing any planets or stars near the sun but I really didn’t mind. The shadow bands were just as crazy as I have heard. It happened so quickly I couldn’t get any video but I’m so glad we could witness them.

Now that the eclipse hoopla is over I’m feeling a little let down.  Like the day after Christmas.

So now what?

What to do with glasses?

There are two kinds of people – those who had their eclipse glasses in April and those who were scrambling to find some on August 20. Either way, you are now stuck with glasses that are pretty much useless. You have three options:

  1. Recycle
    Pull out the film in the lenses and recycle the paper. You can toss the film or take them to a facility that develops photographs to see if they recycle that type of film.
  2. Souvenir
    Pin the glasses up on the bulletin board, stick them in a scrap book, or, as I do, add them to the pile on your desk as a memento of the occasion.
  3. Reuse
    The next total eclipse will be in 2019 visible from South America. Astronomers Without Borders is collecting glasses from the US eclipse to share with folks down there next year. I am collecting glasses from my neighborhood – see if someone near you is doing the same or just send them in yourself.

But before you get rid of those glasses, why not do a little science?

Gather up some bright stuff – flashlights, candles, light bulbs and anything else that makes you squint when you try to look at it. Put on your glasses and look to see if they are visible. How close does the flashlight need to be to your eyeball to be visible? What other questions can you answer?

Want more astronomy?

After the eclipse you may have been bitten by the astronomy bug. Yay! Where can you learn and do more?

  • Find a planetarium near you and visit a show.
  • Find out when you local astronomy club is having their next observation session.
  • Add this app to your calendar so you don’t miss any future astronomical events like meteor showers or supermoons (no glasses required!)
  • Start on a path to becoming an amateur astronomer
  • Or just revisit the eclipse experience in photos

Plan for the next one!

If all you really want is another total eclipse then start planning for the next one!  You can plan a trip to South America in 2019 and 2020 or the US in 2024.

Or if a lunar eclipse (no glasses needed!) is more your speed mark your calendar for January 31 in the US or check out the complete list from NASA.