2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Update: Be careful about purchasing eclipse glasses. The glasses we originally recommended that claimed to be certified to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard did not make the list of known approved vendors! Amazon has been refunding those purchases. The link below has been changed to a list of reliable sources.

Ready for the 2017 total solar eclipse? August 21, 2017, is being billed as “The Great American Eclipse.” You don’t want to miss it!

Summer Fun Activities: 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
Click to enlarge.

The last time there was an eclipse in America was in 1991. But this time, the path of totality will cross right through America. Those places that will see the total eclipse of the sun include:

  • Casper, Wyoming.
  • St. Joseph, Missouri.
  • Carbondale, Illinois.
  • Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Columbia, South Carolina.

However, all of those in the United States will at least experience a partial eclipse.

Here are a few tools to help you make the most of the day:

Safety First

You’ll want to be sure to explain the reasons why we do not look directly at the sun, especially during a solar eclipse. Eclipse glasses are certified according to the ISO 12312-2 international standard and can be purchased for safe viewing.

Eye Safety During a Total Solar Eclipse
Article at NASA that explains what to look for when purchasing Eclipse Eyeglasses along with tips for safe viewing.

Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers
List of reliable sources for eclipse glasses.

Where to View

The nice thing about this particular total solar eclipse is that if you live in the United States you can probably view it from the comfort of your backyard (weather permitting).

The 2017 Eclipse Across America Map
This NASA map shows you the path of totality along with the percentage eclipse for your viewing area and the time of the eclipse.

What Happens During an Eclipse

Although the sun is significantly larger than our moon, in our sky they appear about the same size. During a total eclipse, from our view the moon moves in front of the sun and for a few minutes covers the sun, casting a shadow on earth, creating darkness, and decreasing the temperature.

What You’ll See

Of course, exactly what you will see depends on where you are. However, here are a few things to look for:

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Additional Resources

What to See During an Eclipse
What to look for during each phase at the Exploratorium.

Observer’s Guide to Viewing the Eclipse
Eight-page download from the National Science Teachers Association.

Weather Forecast
From Space.com.


Eclipse 2017
Excellent interactive from the Jet Propulsion Lab that shows you what the eclipse will look like where you are!

2017 Eclipse Across America
Great download from NASA with basic information and instructions for making two different types of eclipse viewers.

Eclipse Activity Guide
Also from NASA paired with the Girl Scouts, this 44-page download covers everything from magnets and compasses to sun s’mores!

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 Map
Printable for notebook.

Eclipse Bookmark
Informative brochure/bookmark from NASA.

State Pinhole Projector
Download the pinhole projector for your state, have someone take a photo of your shadow while holding the projector, and the “resulting image will be a once in a lifetime picture of your shadow, the shadow of your selected state and a projected image of the partial eclipse marking your location!”