Have any plans for this weekend? We certainly do with a whopping six soccer games. But we are also prepping for the 2017 Solar Eclipse.
I thought I’d give you the quick down and dirty just in case you are also interested in watching this with your family as well.
WHAT IS IT:
The solar eclipse is when the sun is completely covered by the moon. Certain areas of the United States will be completely black for just a few minutes time. So basically it will be daytime and then nighttime and then daytime again in about 5 minutes total time. Children are going to love this!
The eclipse is on Monday, August 21st and will start in Oregon at about 10:15am PST and ends in Charleston around 3pm EST. Sadly many kids will be in school during the eclipse but I do know some parents plan to take kids out of school for the viewing or I am sure many schools will have activities planned for the event.
If you are not in the path highlighted above, no worries! The rest of us will see a partial eclipse which is still pretty darn awesome.
WHY SHOULD I CARE:
This only happens a few times in a lifetime. A solar eclipse occurs frequently but this one is special as it cuts directly across the United States. The last solar eclipse was in 1979 (I was 3- many of you may not have been born yet) and the last time it crossed the United States was 1918. So really this could be a once in a lifetime event to see. Very cool!
(Map via CNN)
OK, I’M IN:
Each part of the country will have a different viewing experience. The prime spots to see the total eclipse are in a diagonal line across the United States starting in Oregon and ending in Charleston, called the path of totality. A lot of people plan to road trip to see the eclipse so plan on significant traffic in the areas above.
You can click here to see an awesome interactive map that will tell you (based on your zip code) what you will see in your area and how far you are from the path of totality in case you’d like to road trip.
There are tons of viewing parties at various spots around the country and there will be live streaming of the event on tons of web sites, TV stations and even apps you can download for free.
You can see the live stream from the NASA web site here and download the free app.
You can find tons of viewing events near you by clicking here – National Parks and zoos and community organizations are hosting all sorts of viewing parties.
If you plan to catch the eclipse, it is incredibly important to have the proper eye protection. You do not want to look directly at the sun for even a few seconds. There are two options, the first is to make a little cereal box eclipse viewer. I have a link to step by step directions here.
If you prefer a video, here is one from CBS News:
You can also get special viewing glasses from a variety of sources- NASA has a long list here and you can see libraries around the country holding parties and offering free glasses here (please be sure to call ahead to confirm.)
If you would like to photograph the eclipse, your camera will also need protective gear. You will want to use a protective solar filter for your lens to prevent any damage to your camera.
Let’s be honest though, the majority of people will be photographing from a smartphone right or possibly a Go Pro?
If that is the case you can’t zoom in like you can with a huge, fancy camera lens so you don’t need to worry about filters and such (according to Apple but please double check with your phone manufacturer.) Using time lapse on your video settings for your phone is a great way to capture this event as it will only last for about 2 minutes 40 seconds in total.
You can click here to pick up a tripod for your iphone – they are cheap and come in super handy for taking family pics.
I plan to grab our glasses ASAP as I know many stores might sell out and I am not seeing a quick and easy online option (please share if you find one).
Also to get bonus points for being festive, Target has an awesome line of NASA stuff this year. My big girl loves science so I already planned to grab the sweatshirt for her but the t-shirts start at only $5.00 and I think they are awesome. I just ordered a glittery, blue t-shirt for my little girl for just $5 and it is supposed to be ready to pick up on Friday 18th.
And to get in the spirit of space and amazing stuff, you might want to rent Hidden Figures this weekend for family night. This isn’t about the eclipse but it is a great film about NASA and my 9 year old and I loved this one in theaters.