Help Schoolchildren in Africa See the Next Solar Eclipse

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I like the tagline for the nonprofit Astronomers Without BordersOne People, One Sky. The sky really does unite us all. The lunar eclipse I saw in Boston over the weekend could be seen up and down the east coast by millions of people. When I point out the constellation Orion to my kids, a dad somewhere else in the world is doing the same thing with his kids.

Next month the sky will be host to an amazing event that's a lot less common than a lunar eclipse or the constellation Orion. On November 3rd, the moon will pass between the earth and eclipse the sun. Like a lunar eclipse, some places will have a better view than others.

The best place to see the eclipse will be in Africa, and Astronomers Without Borders plans to bring the eclipse to as many children there as possible. But they want to do it safely. It's not safe to look at the sun directly, even during a eclipse when the sun is partially or even fully covered by the moon.

AWB's goal is to send 42,000 eclipse glasses s to Africa. They cost a dollar each. So far they've raised enough money for 10,000, including 3,200 donated by Rainbow Symphony, a manufacturer of eclipse glasses.

The glasses will be distributed by Astronomers who will be visiting the continent to study the eclipse. The South Africa-based International Astronomical Union's office of Astronomy for Development will also distribute glasses.

What a great campaign for individuals and companies to support!

  • Looking for something besides candy to trick or treat for this Halloween? How about dollar bills to help these kids see the eclipse. For extra impact dress the kids up like the sun, moon, or earth!
  • Turn the tables on trick or treaters and ask the parents to donate. Handout Man in the Moon candies with a note asking people to give.
  • Does your business sell sunglasses or eyeglasses or anything eye-related? This a perfect tie-in and a low-cost way for your company - or your customers and employees - to make a difference. Choose from a point-of-sale or percentage-of-sales fundraiser.

Children all over the world deserve to explore the wonders of the universe, especially in Africa where science education is limited. This lesson will only cost you a buck. Donate now!