How to View the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse – WHS 210

How to View the 2017 Eclipse - WHS 210

The total solar eclipse that will traverse the United States is quickly approaching. Where will you be on August 21, 2017? Don’t miss this opportunity to see a phenomenon you and your kids will talk about for years.

The best way to see the eclipse this year is to be somewhere along the path of totality that goes from Oregon to South Carolina. Even if you’re outside this area, you’ll still be treated to a sight unparalleled in all of nature.

Think about it: the moon will pass between the earth and the sun and darkness will engulf you. The stars will be visible in midday!

See the Eclipse in Person

The best way to view the eclipse is to be there in person. For many people in the United States, you can drive 4-6 hours and be along the path of totality.

If you live along that path, or you plan to travel, here are a few tips:

1. Plan Ahead

Don’t wait until the last minute to make plans. Travel will be difficult as the date approaches, especially around major metropolitan areas.

If you want to use this as an opportunity to teach your kids about astronomy, find some books or videos to share with them. You might want to start with my blog post Total Solar Eclipse 2017 – 5 Best Online Resources.

2. Be Safe

Whether it’s while traveling or when viewing the eclipse, safety is important. Animals freak out when an eclipse occurs so if you’re in a rural area watch out for strange behavior.

Don’t plan to drive too far on the day of the eclipse. If you need to travel that day be conscious of the fact that many people will be trying to do the same thing.

Make sure you have protective eyewear for viewing the eclipse. DO NOT look directly at the sun until it’s totally covered! Once the sun is covered, you can remove your glasses for naked eye observation.

3. Be Courteous

I recommend that you and your family observe the event alone. If you plan to go to a viewing party be aware of the people around you. Don’t block a person’s view.

If someone has a telescope, DO NOT just walk up and use it. Don’t even touch it without permission. Professional and amateur astronomers are kind and helpful people but touching their equipment without permission is a no-no.

Where to Watch Online

Ideally, you want to see the eclipse in person. However, work requirements, family situations and other situations out of your control may prevent that.

If you live anywhere in the lower 48 states, you’ll be able to see a partial eclipse. The same safety rules apply when viewing the eclipse. At no point during a partial eclipse is it safe for you remove protective eyewear.

If it’s cloudy where you are or you live in Alaska or Hawaii or you want to watch the eclipse from overseas I recommend checking out the NASA Live Stream or the SLOOH Live Stream.

Both of these sites will have excellent programming leading up to and the day of the eclipse. Again, it’s not the best option but it’s better than nothing.


  • Sony is releasing clean versions of their movies to appeal to families.
  • I’ve started a new podcast, Homeschool News Today, where I share homeschool-related news Monday thru Friday.
  • If you purchased one of the original Edison robots, a new firmware is available to make it compatible with EdPy and EdBlocks.

STEM App of the Week

Solar Eclipse Timer is available on Android and iOS for $1.99.

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