Monday, August 21, 2017 will be a memorable day. Not since 1918 has a solar eclipse crossed the United States from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans, giving us a rare opportunity to observe one of nature’s biggest coincidences.
- Never look directly at the sun. Solar eclipse glasses block out everything except for the actual sun itself. My kids were surprised how small the sun looks when using eclipse glasses. Beware of price gouging online. The Science Center of Iowa is currently selling eclipse glasses for $2.50 per pair. Indirect viewing is an option, too.
- Watch something. NASA’s YouTube channel is pretty fantastic. Try downloading the NASA app, too.
- Read something. Wendy Mass’s Every Soul a Star is a favorite young adult novel about three kids whose paths unexpectedly cross in the days leading up to a solar eclipse. As the story opens, Allie’s family is preparing a campground that is the only US viewing area of an eclipse. Bree’s only goal is landing a modeling contract, and Jack tries to remain invisible. A story of self-discovery, transformation, and life change – the themes cross generations and connect us all.
- For other reading: NASA’s website has lots of details. If you are looking for a book about the history and science of eclipses, check out Tyler Nordgren’s Sun Moon Earth.
- Talk to someone. I have been a little disappointed how few people I know are excited about this natural phenomenon. I’m just so excited to share with others my fascination with science, nature, and space.
- Do something. Participate in NASA’s citizen science project. Collect temperature readings and cloud observations before, during, and after the eclipse. Upload them on the free app and share your data with researchers.
- Get out there and experience. Simply step outdoors around 1pm Central Daylight Time) to experience a partial eclipse. The Science Center of Iowa will host an eclipse viewing party on the capitol steps at 11:45 – 2:30pm. The sun will be 95% covered but we will not have complete darkness unless we travel to Nebraska or Missouri to the zone of totality when the moon’s shadow passes overhead. This will be my first total solar eclipse, but I have read it is something that must be experienced – words cannot describe it.