Get Ready for the Solar Eclipse Soar Together at Air and Space

A total solar eclipse will cross North America on Monday April 8, 2024. Are you ready for it?

Check out the activities below to find out what it'll look like in your neighborhood and how to prepare for viewing it safely with fun art activities. 

Jump to a Section:       Ways to View the Eclipse Safely      Book Recommendations      Spotlight Story

This map shows the path the Moon's shadow will take across the United States during the solar eclipse on Monday April 8.

Can you find your city or town on the map?

Ways to View the Solar Eclipse Safely

Make an eclipse viewer mask for your eclipse glasses

Create a mask that will allow little ones a more comfortable way to view the sun through eclipse glasses since a lot of times they are too big for little heads!

 

  

Materials needed:

  • Paper plate
  • Pencil
  • ISO-approved solar eclipse glasses*
  • Ruler
  • Scissors or exacto knife
  • Materials to decorate your mask, like markers, crayons, and stickers

*Find out how to get solar eclipse glasses.

    
  1. Place the eclipse glasses (with the arms folded in) at the center of the paper plate and then slide them down so that the top of the eclipse glasses are below the center line. 
  2. Use the pencil to mark each outer edge of the glasses. Trace a line from the top edge to the bottom edge on both sides. This is where you will insert the arms of the eclipse glasses.
   

3. Remove the eclipse glasses. To make a cut-out area for the mask wearer's nose and mouth, take the ruler and measure and mark the following:

  • 3 mm from the top of the lines you drew for the edge of the glasses (see photo to the left). Repeat on the other side. Use your ruler to connect these two points with a line. This marks the top of the area to be cut. Do not cut above this line. 
  • 5 mm from middle of the line you drew for the edge of the glasses. Repeat on the other side. 
   

4. Use these markings to sketch out the area seen between the thick black lines in the photo to the left.

5. Use the exacto knife or scissors to cut slits for the arms of the eclipse glasses. Cut out the bottom part of the mask.

   

6. This is what your mask will look like after all of the cuts. Now you can decorate your mask any way you'd like!

   

7. When you're done decorating, finish assembling the mask by sliding the arms of the eclipse glasses into the slits you cut earlier. Make sure the glasses are snug against the paper plate.

Now you're ready for some safe, stylish solar eclipse viewing!

Make an pinhole projector

Watch this Flights of Fancy Story Time video from museum educators Ann Caspari and Diane Kidd about three friends getting ready to view the solar eclipse. 

At the end of the video, Ann will show you how to make fun pinhole projectors using old greeting cards or recycled pictures. 

   

Get the following materials ready and follow along: 

  • Old greeting cards, calendars, or magazines with a picture you like. Anything that has thicker paper that can get poked through without tearing easily. 
  • Pointy pencil
  • Chopsticks
  • A couple of pieces of cardboard
  • Tape
  • A flashlight

Read about Eclipses with these Book Recommendations

Eclipse

Written and illustrated by Andy Rash

Best for ages 4 to 8

This charming story is based on a true story of the road trip the author took to view the 2017 total eclipse with his son. Discover what goes into preparing for such a trip and what makes it all worth it in the end. 

A Few Beautiful Minutes: Experiencing a Solar Eclipse

Written by Kate Allen Fox, illustrated by Khoa Le

Best for ages 4 to 8

Have you ever experienced a solar eclipse? What happens when the sun disappears? This book describes different observations and reactions that happen during a solar eclipse.

Eclipse

By Jeffrey Bennett

Best for ages 9 and up

This book uses rhymes, real photographs and cool drawings to help kids learn about eclipse science.

Spotlight Story

Astrophysicist Wanda Diaz-Merced

A solar eclipse is an exciting sight to see, but people experience and sense the world in different ways. Meet Dr. Wanda Diaz-Merced, a blind astrophysicist who has found another way to study stars—through sound! One of her colleagues, Allyson Bieryla of Harvard's Center for Astrophysics, came up with the idea for a device called LightSound for blind and low vision people to experience the solar eclipse. Dr. Merced collaborated with her on this project!

  • Dr. Merced was born in a small town in Puerto Rico, where at an early age she loved science.
  • In her late teens, Dr. Merced started to slowly lose her vision, due to an extended illness. She had to adjust and adapt to studying and learning without seeing what was in front of her.
  • While studying at the University of Puerto Rico, she lost her sight completely. She still pursued her studies in physics, and eventually achieved her degree after six years. 
  • One day, a classmate had her listen to the sound of a solar flare (which is a quick burst of energy from the Sun), and it changed everything. Wanda set her aspirations on a new goal: making science into sound. 
  • Dr. Merced later went on to achieve her doctorate in computer science at the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2013. 
  • Dr. Merced is a pioneer in the field of studying science with sound. Her work is allowing scientists to get even more information out of data that is collected from space. It is also showing that science is for everyone, and should be accessible to all. 

For grown-ups: To learn more about a project Dr. Merced worked on while doing research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and to hear what data made into music sounds like, check out the Star Songs webpage!

Soar Together at Air and Space is made possible by the generous support of Northrop Grumman.

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