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The Top 10 Things you Need to Know about the Solar Eclipse

Everyone’s talking about it! Get ready for the coolest celestial event to happen in years…a total solar eclipse! There are lots of questions and misconceptions about this exciting event, so here are the top ten things you need to know. 

solar eclipse

1. Date and Time

It takes place on August 21, 2017. Here in the Iowa City area, the show will begin at 11:46 a.m., with the most exciting part (when the moon is fully covering the sun, it’s called ‘totality’) at 1:12 p.m. In Iowa we will not get to experience a full totality, but will see the moon covering about 91% of the sun. The show ends at 2:36 p.m.

 

2. Safety

It is dangerous to look directly at the solar eclipse with the naked eye, or even with just sunglasses. In order to safely look at the eclipse, you must wear appropriate eclipse-viewing glasses. (Be warned–lots of jerks out there are trying to sell fake solar eclipse viewing glasses, so be judicious in your search for the real thing!)

 

3. Location

If you stay in Iowa, you won’t be able to see the complete totality. The eclipse will be a partial eclipse of the sun, which means the moon will partially cover the sun. It will still be cool, and #2 still applies. If you want to see the total eclipse of the sun, you’ve got to make the trek to Nebraska. Check out this map to see the path of totality. 

 

4. School Protocol

Iowa City Community School District has closed all school campuses to students during the time of the eclipse (because see #2). 

 

5. Local Event

The University of Iowa has planned a solar eclipse viewing event on the Pentacrest from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on the 21st. Everyone is welcome. The Iowa City Public Library is also holding a Solar-bration of the Solar Eclipse party. 

 

6. Dancing Along the Path!

NASA’s asking all citizen scientists (that’s you and your kids!) to have a dance party during the eclipse.  That’s right–a dance party. Here’s what they say:  
During the solar eclipse capture a short video (less than 1 min) of yourself, or you with others, doing an original dance inspired by the eclipse. As a reminder, avoid any kind of copyrighted music or materials in the background that would prevent us from posting your video. Share your video with us in this Flickr group or on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by using #EclipseDance. Don’t forget to include a brief description with your image.
While you’re at it, send your eclipse pics and videos to ICMB too!

 

7. DIY Safety “Glasses”

If you can’t get hold of those eclipse viewing glasses, you can view the eclipse via pinhole projectors. Download the printable and get other fun alternative viewing ideas. Be sure to follow the directions–don’t look through the pinhole at the sun! (see #2)

 

8. Theme Party Ideas

Solar eclipse parties are a thing, and if you are so inclined you should host one! Get out the Moon Pies, Starbursts, Poprocks, and Sunny Delight! Make your videos (see #6), cut out your pinhole projectors (see #7), and show us how you celebrated!

 

9. Frequently Asked Questions

All things eclipse (including answers to the 10 million questions your littles will be asking about the eclipse) can be found here. There’s so much to learn!

 

10. FOMO?

If you miss this solar eclipse, don’t worry–you’ll just have to wait until 2024 for the next one!
 
Have a safe and happy viewing!

 

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