A total solar eclipse that will traverse North America is quickly approaching. Don’t miss this opportunity to see a phenomenon you and your kids will talk about for years. Please note: This podcast episode is from 2017 but I have updated this blog post for the upcoming solar eclipse in 2024.
The best way to see the eclipse in 2024 is to be somewhere along the path of totality that goes from Mexico to Maine. 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 at 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-Best Resources for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.
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 to 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 on the day of the eclipse. Again, it’s not the best option but it’s better than nothing.
STEM App of the Week
Solar Eclipse Timer is available on Android and iOS for $1.99.
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Music for the podcast is “RetroFuture Clean” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. In some cases, I may have been given a free sample of a product to review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement.