A total solar eclipse will take place on Aug. 21 of this year. The last total solar eclipse visible from coast to coast in America took place back in June of 1918, so it's been a while! This August, everyone in our country will have the opportunity to witness either a full or partial eclipse depending upon where they live. We're going to get a partial eclipse here, but it should still be pretty impressive, and I know lots of people will be planning viewing parties for this special solar event. Here's everything you need to know to get ready for the big day.
The Path of the Eclipse
People who live within what is known as the path of totality will be in perfect position to observe a total solar eclipse. This path runs across the country starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina. People living outside the path of totality will see a partial eclipse. Make sure to keep track of the weather forecast as the 21st approaches, since it can affect your eclipse experience. This solar eclipse is sure to be a spectacular sight, and the best part is that you can enjoy it from your own backyard.
Methods for Watching the Eclipse
Most people know you're not supposed to look directly at the sun because it can damage your eyes. For viewing the eclipse, you can use solar viewing glasses or create a pinhole camera of your own. Making pinhole cameras would be a great project to do with kids and grandkids so everyone at your gathering has one to use. Afterward, your friends and family can put them away as keepsakes of this memorable night.
Make it a Party!
No total solar eclipse party would be complete without refreshments! Set up a table and load it with some delicious treats featuring a theme to match the occasion. I suggest setting out lawn chairs for the adults and putting beach towels on the grass for the kids to sit on. Some ideas for your snack table could include a bowl of sun-kissed citrus punch, "over the moon" banana pudding, and sun-dried tomato and cheddar cheese mini-biscuits. Also, make some sandwiches and cut each of them with a sun-shaped cookie cutter. Don't forget to make a plate of moon pies for your guests to chomp on throughout the evening.
An Educational Opportunity for Kids
If you have a lot of children or grandchildren at your solar eclipse party, give them a chance to become amateur scientists. Get some inexpensive notepads and pencils from the local dollar store, then hand out the materials and ask the school-aged kids to make notes on what they see during the eclipse. What insects do they hear? Are the birds flying around and active during the eclipse, or are they quiet? Give the younger kids at the party some white construction paper or butcher paper and crayons and ask them to draw what they see during the eclipse. Kids and adults alike will have fun looking around and observing the subtle and not-so-subtle changes in the atmosphere.
Be sure to take plenty of photos of family and friends at your eclipse party. You may even want to make a photo album to remember this special occasion! Thanks for reading. - Alan