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Planetarium giving solar eclipse glasses to Seminole elementary schools

Seminole State also hosting free educational talks at public libraries

Lake Mary Elementary school employees wear solar eclipse glasses donating by the Emil Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State College. The Planetarium is donating 50 pairs to every school in Seminole County before the Aug. 21 eclipse.
Lake Mary Elementary school employees wear solar eclipse glasses donating by the Emil Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State College. The Planetarium is donating 50 pairs to every school in Seminole County before the Aug. 21 eclipse. (Emil Buehler Planetarium)

LAKE MARY, Fla. – Look out Seminole County teachers, the Emil Buehler Planetarium is coming for you -- with 50 pairs of solar eclipse glasses for every school in the county.

Michael McConville and Derek Demeter, with the Seminole State College planetarium, started their rounds Tuesday stopping at as many as 15 elementary schools and donating glasses.

They plan to finish dropping off glasses by Wednesday, McConville said.

The planetarium has been posting photos to Facebook from its elementary school stops, and McConville said the school photo with the most likes will receive an additional 100 pairs of glasses.

Solar glasses are in high demand less than two weeks before the total eclipse that will span from Oregon to South Carolina, selling out on Amazon and other vendors.

McConville, who is the planetarium coordinator, and Central Florida Astronomical Society volunteers will be at the Lake Mary campus on the day of the eclipse to host one of the largest eclipse viewing parities in Central Florida. Demeter, the CFAS president and planetarium director, plans to be photographing the eclipse from Oregon.

The planetarium will also have more than 5,000 eclipse glasses on the day of the event to give out to visitors.

"We'll have telescopes, binoculars, and these eclipse glasses to give away, and a number of presentation about the eclipse and all the information you'd ever want to know about 2017, 2024 and Orlando's very own eclipse all the way out in 2045," McConville told News 6 about the upcoming event on campus.

Central Florida will only experience a partial eclipse, during which the moon will cover about 88 percent of the sun for a little more than two minutes.

McConville said he hopes that the 2017 eclipse and the planetarium event will inspire the next generation of explorers and teachers.

"If we can give those students, an opportunity, a gateway if you will, to be able to experience something that is absolutely magnetic for the first time in their life then we have future astronauts, and future technology leaders and future scientists," McConville said.

The planetarium is also hosting free talks around Central Florida ahead of the eclipse to educate people about the astronomic event. Demeter’s first eclipse talk will be at the downtown Orlando Public Library Tuesday evening.

Public libraries around the U.S. are giving out more than 2 million pairs of eclipse glasses. Check with your local library to find out how to pick up a pair.


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