WebsiteBannerGlasses June2020



Calabasas, CA, June 18, 2020: Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) is sending recycled eclipse-viewing glasses collected from across the U.S.A., to the people of Ethiopia for use during the solar eclipse that crosses the African continent June 21, 2020.   

As a total eclipse of the Sun swept across the continental U.S.A. from coast to coast on August 21, 2017, millions of eclipse glasses were used to safely witness this dramatic celestial event. AWB, with support from its long time corporate partner Explore Scientific, launched a nationwide grassroots initiative to collect gently used eclipse glasses and give them a second life before they reached landfills unnecessarily.   

Through the enthusiastic support of local libraries, schools, museums, city halls, police stations, National Parks, commercial businesses, community organizations and even children, over 1,000 collection centers quickly popped up from coast to coast to ensure that as many glasses as possible could be recycled.  Glasses were sent to Explore Scientific’s Arkansas warehouse where they were inspected by volunteers from non-profit group North West Arkansas Space to make sure they meet safety certifications, and are not damaged or counterfeit.   

By the end of the collecting campaign over 5 million were received and AWB began distributing them for future eclipses, already having sent 40,000 glasses to Argentina, Chile and Peru for the July 2,2019 eclipse, and more than 20,000 to India, Sri Lanka and China for the December 26, 2019 eclipse.  

Astronomers Without Borders, with collaboration from the African Astronomical Society and the East Africa Regional Office of Astronomy for Development, is now able to send 16,000 glasses that will be distributed in and around the town of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia.

Despite the challenging environment imposed by COVID-19 crisis, Lalibela city administration officials will distribute 16,000 eclipse glasses directly to households across the city and neighbouring villages. Volunteers will drive through streets, using megaphones, to raise public awareness about the eclipse, provide safety precautions and handout AWB solar glasses – the exact same method they have already been using to dispense personal protective supplies to families during the ongoing pandemic.

“Living in such uncertain times, we hope that by sharing across space and time the experience of witnessing the natural beauty of a solar eclipse we can help transcend borders, and bring a sense of peace and togetherness, which is so needed these days,” said Zoe Chee, Interim Executive Director of Astronomers Without Borders. “Thanks to the generosity of so many across the United States, we are excited to be able to offer access to this amazing celestial phenomenon to those who otherwise would have missed out.”

AWB extends a special thank you to the US Embassy in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC for the shipment of all the glasses. Turns out that Personal Protection Equipment for use by frontline health care workers in battling the coronavirus is being shipped together with the solar glasses from the United States into Ethiopia.

AWB is now seeking public and private sponsors and partners to support shipping and distribution of more solar glasses for upcoming eclipses and other outreach programs.  

AWB will be sharing a collection of live feeds of the solar eclipse on June 21, 2020, broadcasting the solar eclipse from the various locations across Africa and Asia. Watch here:

Check out more background information and ‘Hope in the Time of COVID-19’ update about our eclipse glasses distribution program here:  

Astronomers Without Borders is a US 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit charitable organization incorporated in California.  

About Astronomers Without Borders: Astronomers Without Borders connects people worldwide through innovative programs that are accessible to everyone regardless of geography and culture. Combining local events with online technology and a global community, Astronomers Without borders is a leader in promoting understanding and peaceful international relations, while also supporting outreach and education in astronomy. For more information  

For our eclipse glasses press image gallery visit:

For more information and interviews contact:  
Zoe Chee
Interim Executive Director,  Astronomers Without Borders
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +1 (514) 966-5175

Andrew Fazekas
Communications Manager, Astronomers Without Borders
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: (438) 872-1672