Solar Eclipse Exloration

If you haven’t already heard, a total solar eclipse will traverse North America on Monday, April 8, casting shadows across the United States, Mexico and Canada. This rare celestial event occurs when the moon blocks the sun, creating a temporary twilight across all Earthly areas in its path. 

In Claremont, the phenomenon will be observed as a partial solar eclipse that will start at 10:15 a.m. local time and peak at 11:13 a.m., when the moon will cover 34 percent of the sun’s diameter. The cosmic dance will call it a wrap around 12:15 p.m.

Eclipse safety: A bright idea

Any talk of a solar eclipse usually begins with a general reminder to avoid looking at the sun — and for good reason. Viewing an eclipse directly can be extremely harmful to our eyes. So here are a few safety tips to follow:

  • Eclipse glasses are a must.

     Viewing the sun should only be done with special solar filters, or “eclipse glasses” that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Regular sunglasses do not provide adequate protection.

  • Use proper filters for devices.

     Cameras, binoculars and telescopes must have appropriate solar filters to prevent eye damage. Do not rely on improvised filters or substitutes.

  • Consider indirect viewing.

     For a safe and fun experience, try using a pinhole projector. Simply make a small hole in a piece of cardstock and let the sunlight through onto a second piece of paper, safely observing the eclipse’s shadow without direct exposure to the sun.

Many of our teachers will use the event as a learning opportunity for our students throughout the day, including when the eclipse is occurring.

Resources from NASA

A number of resources are available to enhance this educational moment, including safety guidelines, activities for different age groups and supplementary learning materials. Here are a few from NASA: