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Solar Eclipses

Solar eclipse hero without text overlay
Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

A total solar eclipse is coming to North America!

  • Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will be seen in the US from Texas to Maine; all of North America will have at least a partial solar eclipse.
  • How Can You See It?
    You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection.  That could severely hurt your eyes. However, there are numerous safe ways to view an eclipse.  Please see safe viewing techniques below.

Children watching solar eclipse with safety viewers surrounded by paper plates

Resources


NASA solar eclipse diagram showing positions of Earth Moon and the Sun

What is a solar eclipse?

During a solar eclipse the the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the Sun. During a total solar eclipse, the Moon lines up perfectly to fully block the Sun; in a partial solar eclipse, the Moon only blocks part of the Sun; and during an annular eclipse, alignment is perfect but the Moon is too far away from the Earth to completely obscure the Sun. 

This is different from a lunar eclipse, when the Earth blocks most of the sunlight that normally reaches the Moon. In a solar eclipse, the Sun gets darker; in a lunar eclipse, the Moon gets darker.  Visit our lunar eclipse page to learn more.Watch this NASA video to learn more about the different roles of the Moon in lunar and solar eclipses.

More about solar eclipses: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eclipses


Solar eclipse map showing where the Moon’s shadow will cross the U.S. during the 2023 annular solar eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse
Solar eclipse map showing where the Moon’s shadow will cross the U.S. during the 2023 annular solar eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse.
Different versions and higher resolutions available for download: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/5073
Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Maps and Times

April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse (Monday)

More Upcoming Eclipses


Two children using an inflatable Earth beach ball and a small Moon ball to compare the size of the Sun and the Moon and mimic an eclipse in the Exploring the Solar System: Solar Eclipse hands-on activity.

Hands-on Activities During Your Event


Two young learners using the DIY Sun Science app

At-Home Activities and Apps

  • DIY Sun Science App 
    DIY Sun Science includes 15 easy-to-use hands-on activities to learn about the Sun and its important relationship with Earth. Learn how to cook in a solar oven, measure the size of the Sun, or explore shadows in model Moon craters! Each activity includes step-by-step instructions that have been tested by educators, kids, and families. Activity materials are easily available and inexpensive. PDF versions of hands-on activities are also available for download in both English and Spanish.

OMSI solar eclipse event

Safety

You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection.  That could severely hurt your eyes.  However, there are numerous safe ways to view an eclipse.  

An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won't want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures. It is vital that you protect your eyes at all times. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are NOT safe for looking at the Sun. 

Person examining shadow patterns from a solar eclipse through a collander

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Community Event Planning and Preparation


Handouts


Working with STEM Experts Guide cover including an image of expert  puring a liquid and using a strainer with a girl and her family at a museum public event

Finding STEM Experts

We encourage you to seek out local experts for your public events.  Many astronomy enthusiasts plan to travel to the path of totality, but many will be staying closer to home, so please check out all of these different resources to find experts near you:  


Live Streaming of the Solar Eclipse

The Exploratorium will be live streaming the solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024 in multiple formats including on mobile devices; options include telescope imagery without narration as well as educational programming and narration in English and Spanish:


Citizen Science and Community Science Projects

A solar eclipse presents many opportunities for amateur astronomers and lifelong learners to get in on the fun of doing science. 


Multimedia - Animations and Visualizations


Family watching the solar eclipse safely

Promotional Images and Photos

Images and videos of solar eclipses and people experiencing for educational and promotional purposes


Solar eclipse map showing where the Moon’s shadow will cross the U.S. during the 2023 annular solar eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse

Posters


Taking Photos and Videos


Slides


Videos


Schools and Libraries


Planetarium Shows


Facilitator discussing eclipses holding models of the Earth and Moon

Training for Staff and Volunteers

 


Cover of a Solar Science book featuring an artistic image of a solar eclipse

 

Books and Booklets


Tactile Books

NISE Network strives to share STEM public engagement resources designed to for all audiences, including blind and visually impaired participants. For more information about how NISE Network products are designed with an inclusive audiences approach using Universal Design principles, visit https://www.nisenet.org/Audiences.

  • Getting a Feel for Eclipses
    available from NASA SSERVI Tactile and Braille Books https://sservi.nasa.gov/books/
    (copies were included in the 2017 NISE Network Explore Science: Earth & Space toolkit)

Cultural Connections

Night Sky Storytelling