What’s Up for August 2017

The total solar eclipse on August 21 will trace a narrow path across the nation, although most of the U.S. will see a partial eclipse. Here’s what to do before, during and after the eclipse, plus how you can become a citizen scientist helping us with eclipse observations.

Not everyone can travel to the path of totality, so here are some things you can do whether you see totality or a partial eclipse.

Collecting Citizen Science

Want to be a citizen scientist?

Before the eclipse, make and pack your very own eclipse toolkit, containing a notebook, pen, a clock, a stopwatch, the front page of a newspaper, a thermometer, and a stick with a piece of crepe paper tied to it. Don’t forget your assistant, who will help conduct science observations.

Practice using a citizen scientist phone app, like our GLOBE app to study clouds, air and surface temperatures and other observations. Go to the location where you plan to observe the eclipse and check for any obstructions. You may want to focus on only one activity as the eclipse will last less than 3 minutes … or just really experience the eclipse.

Cell phones don’t take eclipse video! And plan to have your safe eclipse-viewing glasses within reach for before and after totality. Just before totality, if you have a good view of the horizon, look west to see the approaching shadow. After totality, look east low on the horizon for the departing shadow.

During totality, look for stars. You should be able to see the star Regulus in the solar corona or the stars of Orion.

During totality, we may see moving bands of shadows, like on the bottom of a swimming pool.

How dark does it get at totality? Look at the newspaper you brought with you. What is the smallest print you can read?

How much does the temperature drop? Does the wind stop or change direction?

Use your hands, a sheet of paper with a hole in it, a kitchen colander or any other object with one or more holes to use as a pinhole projector. You’ll be able to see the crescent shape of the sun projected through the holes.

Find out more about the eclipse, including eclipse safety, at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

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