Close-up of a person smiling while wearing protective eclipse glasses. The glasses are designed with a dark frame and reflective lenses to safely view a solar eclipse. The person's hands are adjusting the glasses, and their face is illuminated by natural light. The detailed reflection of the sky can be seen on the lenses. The image captures the excitement and wonder of observing a solar eclipse.

April Russell

2024 Big Helio Year Awardee

Project Description

Solar Eclipse Glasses Recycling Initiative

The image is an announcement for the "Solar Eclipse Glasses Recycling Initiative," which has received funding. The initiative is a collaboration between NASA SCoPE, the Night Sky Network, and Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration. The project is led by April Russel, CEO of Astronomers Without Borders. The image features logos of NASA SCoPE, the Night Sky Network, and Arizona State University, along with a portrait of April Russel. A large "FUNDED" stamp is prominently displayed across the middle. In the background, a person wearing solar eclipse glasses is visible.

This collaborative project centers on recycling solar eclipse glasses to promote sustainability and enhance global science education. Developed by Astronomers Without Borders with support from many individuals and organizations, the initiative collected uses eclipse glasses after the 2024 total solar eclipse in North America. These glasses are vetted and redistributed to underprivileged communities, particularly in regions with limited access to scientific resources. The program not only reduces environmental waste by repurposing the glasses but also provides educational tools that enable people to safely experience and learn from solar eclipses. This effort fosters a greater understanding of astronomy and environmental stewardship among learners of all ages. By bridging the gap between advanced and developing regions, the project cultivates a global community engaged in science and conservation. The ultimate goal is to inspire future generations to participate in scientific endeavors and to adopt sustainable practices, ensuring a lasting impact on both education and environmental health.

Target Audience Age


NASA Division

Helio logo


Grant Status

Learning Context

Digital Learning disabled

Digital Learning

Home and family enabled

Neighborhood /

Informal and out of school enabled

Informal /
Out of School

home and family enabled

Home / Family

citizen science disabled

Citizen Science

Formal education disabled

Formal Education


Russel Bio

The involvement of more scientists with SciAct teams not only brings a wider range of expertise and ideas but also enhances the scope and depth of our outreach efforts… We can significantly expand our project's reach and impact, maximizing the benefits to the community and the field of space science.

April Russel Solar Eclipse Recycling PI

April Russell

Solar Eclipse Glasses Recycling PI
Astronomers Without Borders

Russell earned her BS in physics and MS in planetary sciences from MIT, and an MA in Education from WGU. With a strong background in astrophysics, education, and strategic leadership, she has dedicated her career to fostering a global appreciation for the wonders of the universe. Throughout her career, she has created innovative science education resources, worked with Astronomy Magazine, National Geographic, Khan Academy, and others. She has also contributed significantly to published research. Asteroid 33845 Aprilrussell is named in her honor. As the CEO of AWB, she is committed to transcending borders, broadening perspectives, and improving lives through astronomy.

SciAct Team

Night sky network logo

Night Sky Network Description

The Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA's missions to the general public.

We share our time and telescopes to provide you with unique astronomy experiences at science museums, observatories, classrooms, and under the real night sky.

White Bio

This fits perfectly with our project's mission of reaching underserved audiences and reaching beyond what we would be able to do on our own. With all the splendid work done by our networks in the US, they extend that through their international networks of volunteers, expanding the impact dramatically.

Vivian White NSN PI