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    2 million free eclipse glasses coming to US libraries

    By Samantha Mathewson

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    eclipse glasses

    Over 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses will be distributed by libraries and library organizations across the U.S. for the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse. (Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

    Public libraries across the United States will distribute more than 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses to skywatchers for the total solar eclipse that will sweep over the country on Aug. 21, 2017. The glasses will be provided by a major outreach program initiated by the Space Science Institute (SSI).

    The so-called the Great American Eclipse will pass over the U.S. along a stretch of land from Oregon to South Carolina. Viewers in the path of totality, which spans about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide, will see the moon directly pass in front of the sun, briefly turning day into twilight. Skywatchers outside that path will still see a partial eclipse, when part of the sun will still be in view.

    Looking up at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage, which is why skywatchers need special solar-viewing glasses. Some 4,800 library organizations throughout the country will be giving away free glasses as part of an outreach project funded by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to SSI, a nonprofit corporation focused on science research, education and outreach. The project is also supported by Google, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, according to a statement from the SSI.

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