If you living within the continental United States and have any contact with any news source whatsoever, you probably know by now on August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse with follow a path from sea to shining sea. Many people have revolved a vacation or even just a one day getaway so they can be in the path of totality. However, if you are like us and cannot travel, not all hope is gone. Almost all of the continental United States will get a view of at least a partial eclipse. In our home, any eclipse, lunar or solar, is a time to observe the skies. I have long loved observing the heavens. I remember gazing out our car window on many occasions staring at the cloud formations or the stars at night. So, even though we won't be in the path of totality, we are making a big deal out of the upcoming solar eclipse anyway.
I have put together a list of information about the solar eclipse as well as some fun stuff you can do with your family to celebrate this upcoming phenomena. Make it a big deal because it is! Even if all you do is watch the livestream, it will be well worth your time.
Let's start off with the information about the day:
When? Monday, August 21, 2017
Where? Totality path can be see on the path below. However, most of the United States will be able to observe at least a partial eclipse.
click here for a downloadable pdf to a larger copy from NASA
Time? At this link from NASA, there is an interactive map that when you click on your area, you get all the times and such. Great resource!
What if I can't make it or don't really want to stare at the heavens for a long time? Look no further than here. There is a complete list of all the different places you will be able to catch a live stream of the action in the sky. Really, it will be worth it no matter how you view it.
For much more information and even downloadable stuff, NASA has a whole website devoted to it. You can find it here.
What is a solar eclipse?
I have gathered a few youtube videos to help you and/or your children learn what one is. There is something for young and old to learn from in this list:
Crash Course is one of our favorite places to go to for information. Enjoy this little video about eclipses. Great for any age.
Dr. Binocs is a load of cutenss and fun. Here is a great shorter video packed with information, great for your younger children.
Here is a fun little song to even help the youngest of hearts learn and understand what an eclipse is.
Here is one final video on preparing for the solar eclipse upcoming on the 21st:
Having fun with the solar eclipse:
First off - watching the solar eclipse whether travelling or in your own backyard
Let me emphasize SAFETY!!!! One cannot just stare into the sun. No way should you ever do that. Staring directly at the sun can lead to eye damage or blindness. But, there are lots of ways to watch this safely.
Eclipse glasses - Amazon has an amazing selection of eclipse glasses that you can purchase. Getting this close to the day, they are a bit pricey, but worth it if you want a view. It is imperative they remain unscratched. One scratch can cause an amazing about of damage. I really cannot emphasize safety enough. Here is a link to all the variety you can choose from. But don't dawdle. Some are selling out fast. A quick hunt around the internet may garner you some better bargains. If you see one, please comment below!
DIY eclipse viewing -
The classic pin hole viewer - here is how to make one very simply using household items from Thrifty Fun
Nuturestore has a great list of sun and moon activities, but amongst it is a paper plate viewer you can make. Check it out here.
Arts and Crafts, just for fun -
Here is a youtube video link to how to draw a solar eclipse using chalk pastels
How about a t-shirt? Here is a link for a t-shirt you can make.
Take the time a make a solar eclipse flip book. This link will show you how.
For simple craft, here is one for little hands using coffee filters.
Slime is all the rage right now. Here is a link to make some galaxy slime. This stuff is really awesome. She shows you how to make it in a variety of ways using a variety of resources. She also has a plethora of STEM activities you can do with your kids having to do with the solar eclipse as well. The link for that is here.
Last but not least, here is a funny story to show your kids (unless you own the book). I had never heard of it till yesterday. What a funny story. However, I should point out, the animals in the story look directly at the sun. If a little person is watching it, you may want to emphasize the safety rules again.
Do you like to celebrate with food? I've got some ideas for you.
How about a galaxy themed food party? Here is a list of snacks and treats to get your creative juices flowing:
finger sandwiches (chicken/tuna salad, meat, PBJ) cut in moon/star shapes
Milky Way bars
Eclipse Cookies - see some ideas below
Eclipse cookies -
Here are links to two different fun ideas. One is easy and the other will take you more time. Take your pick.
Galaxy bark is a fun idea. Here is a recipe for a good one.
How about Galaxy popcorn? Here is fun recipe for that!
Want to plan a more elaborate occassion? Here is link with some awesome ideas.
Want to keep it really simple and let someone else do the work for a special treat? Krispy Kreme just announced the release of a special doughnut available in time for the the eclipse. You can read all about this yummy chocolate addition here.
Here are a couple of other websites that you might find useful in your preparation for the eclipse.
Experience Astronomy has a free video and lesson on the eclipse as well.
Plan to mark your calendar and get ready to have to some fun with the solar eclipse coming on August 21st. I know we will!!!!
Happy heavens gazing.