Public libraries providing special glasses to watch eclipse safe - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Public libraries providing special glasses to watch eclipse safety

People wear protective glasses to watch a solar eclipse in Indonesia in March 2016.  (Source: AP/Dita Alangkara) People wear protective glasses to watch a solar eclipse in Indonesia in March 2016. (Source: AP/Dita Alangkara)
Don't forget the dog! (Source: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth) Don't forget the dog! (Source: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

(RNN) - The total solar eclipse that will occur over the U.S. on Aug. 21 is a once-in-several-lifetimes event you’ll want to see. There’s a way to do it without frying your eyeballs - and it's free.

The human eye is sensitive to bright light and looking directly at the sun will do serious damage that may be permanent.

Ralph Chou, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo school of optometry stated in a NASA press release that the loss of vision could be accompanied by a “thermal injury – the high level of visible and near-infrared irradiation causes heating that literally cooks the exposed tissue.”

Don’t trust regular sunglasses, either. They are designed to look at everything BUT the sun.

You might be able to pick up a pair of free glasses at your local library. The specs look a little like 3-D glasses, but they're much more advanced, specifically designed for safe sun-watching at your public library. Thousands of libraries nationwide are part of the plan to distribute millions of glasses and other resources to enable Americans to participate safely in the astronomical show.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has given funds and partnered with the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning and StarNet to provide the glasses. One of the Foundation's missions is to provide low-cost resources to allow Americans to engage in science.

Here is an interactive graphic that will allow you to zoom in and see if your local library or one nearby is participating in the giveaway, which is part of the Moore Foundation’s continuing efforts to provide low-cost tools to enable study of science. The STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) has developed this map as an addition to its Eclipse Resource Center. Credit goes to NASA@ My Library initiative and the Moore Foundation.

Be sure to call your local library to make sure they are part of the program. You will want to act quickly - they're going fast.

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