It’s so important for us as teachers to really take advantage of the special learning opportunities in the world. And so to make it a little easier, we pulled together the Great American Total Solar Eclipse Information for Teachers! Hopefully it will make teaching this topic a little bit easier!
When is the Total Eclipse?
– The total solar eclipse will be on August 21, 2017.
– Total solar eclipses happen every 1-3 years but are not usually where people can see them.
What is a Total Eclipse?
– There are three types of solar eclipses: partial (part of the sun is covered), total (the disk of the sun is covered), and annular (the edge of the sun remains visible).
– A total eclipse is caused by the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth lining up PERFECTLY. The Moon will completely cover the disk of the Sun during a total eclipse.
It’s fairly simple: the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth align perfectly so that the Moon disappears! What better way for your kids to learn; they will love being able to manipulate a total solar eclipse with this fun craft! Click here to check it out: http://bit.ly/2fBW2iB
What happens during a Total Eclipse?
– As the Moon blocks the light from the Sun it casts a shadow on the Earth. This shadow will move across the Earth’s surface as the Earth and the Moon orbit through space.
– The path of totality is the center of that shadow. The closer you are to the center of that shadow, the more you will see the effects of a total solar eclipse. The wider you go, less and less of the Sun will be hidden by the Moon.
(The rest of the bullets assume you are in the center of totality. Outside the path of totality, you will see a partial eclipse. The path of totality for this eclipse is 60-70 miles for the eclipse in August 2017).
– It will become dark outside, you are completely in the moons shadow. It will seem like night!
– You may see stars during the day as the Sun is no longer visible.
– You might hear animals that are typically only heard at night.
– You may feel it get colder just like it does at night.
– You will be able to see the Sun’s outer atmosphere called the corona. It is the glowing
– Totality only lasts for a few minutes (we have read it can be up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds, of course depending on where you are at).
Is it all a little much? We have you covered with this easy to read book for your students. All of our easy readers use simple sentences and focus on only the important concepts. (And they love coloring the pictures too!) Click here to check it out: http://bit.ly/2fBW2iB.
Where is the Total Eclipse Happening?
– The total eclipse will be seen along a diagonal line from Oregon to South Carolina. This is called the path of totality.
– There are 13 states that are in the path of totality and parts of these states may see the total eclipse: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina.
– There is a great map at Vox.com where you type in your zip code and find out all the details of the eclipse where you live. Click here to find out specific details for where you live!
– If you are not in the path of totality, you will see a partial eclipse which is super cool too!
Why is this so special?
– Many scientists feel as if this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a total eclipse stretch across the United States.
– The last total eclipse stretching from coast to coast in the United States was in 1918. That lunar shadow went from Oregon to Florida.
– The last total eclipse in the US was in Hawaii in 1991. The continental US has not had a total eclipse since 1979.
– Scientists say there are total eclipses every 1-3 years, but are usually not where people can see them (for example over the ocean).
– The next total solar eclipse will be 2019 but it will not be visible in the United States. The next one in the United States will be 2024.
Celebrate with your students with these fun eclipse hats! Click here to check them out!
What About Eclipse Safety?
– You should not encourage your students to look directly at the eclipse without appropriate eyewear. Make sure the glasses you use are ISO 12312-2 certified! Shop our Amazon affiliate account for Solar Eclipse Glasses by clicking here! You should call your local libraries, national parks, space centers. Many had grants to get glasses to students and you may get lucky and find some! (Worth a try, right?)
– We have read that it will not harm your eyes when the Sun is completely hidden (or totality) to look at it, but why risk it. Staring at the Sun can permanently harm your eyes including going blind.
– We have also read that you can make eclipse glasses, but I question that too. Just because you read it on a website does not mean it is true (or safe). Just keeping it real.
– Looking through a telescope or camera will also harm your eyes. You must have a solar lens to not hurt yourself.
– If you don’t have glasses for your students, many sites suggest making a “pinhole projector” to see Moon move along the Sun on a solid surface (it’s like shadows on a poster board). We found a Free School video that explains this well in this video at 4:35 – click here to view it.
And we have a great teacher approved video list for eclipses in general and the Great American Total Eclipse of 2017! Click here to see them!
We don’t claim to be an expert on eclipses, science, or really anything in life! We are just sharing what we learned through research on sites such as Space.com, NASA.gov, and through the many YouTube videos noted in our Teacher Approved Video List. Please do your research and know what you are teaching!