On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible in the continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years. A total eclipse is when the Sun is completely hidden by the Moon, the sky becomes dark, and the Sun’s faint atmosphere (its corona) becomes visible – like a beautiful halo. This total eclipse will ONLY be visible on a narrow track stretching from Oregon to South Carolina across the U.S. Because no other country will get to see this total eclipse, it is nicknamed “Great American Eclipse".
How to View the Great American Eclipse Safely
On August 21, 2017, the United States will witness a rare celestial event. The moon will pass between the Sun and the Earth blocking the Earth’s View of the Sun. Due to the imperfect orbit of the moon and our position on Earth with regards to that orbit, Collier County will not experience a “totality” like some parts of the country will see. But we can expect to see about 82% coverage of the sun.
Safety is a high priority and we want all of our students and teachers to be aware of the safety concerns surrounding the eclipse.
Because the eclipse will begin here in Collier County around 1:30 pm and end around 4:20 pm, this will coincide with our recess period, PE and school dismissals. Students, parents, and teachers should be aware that viewing any part of the eclipse with the naked eye can result in retinal damage without any experience of pain. Professionals with Bascom Palmer Eye Institute recommend that no one look up at the sun during the eclipse unless they are wearing eclipse viewer glasses from a manufacturer that meets the recommended standards.
Because the sun will be only partially eclipsed by the moon in southwest Florida, there is no safe time to look at the sun with the naked eye. The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that ordinary sunglasses do not provide sufficient eye protection to directly view the sun during an eclipse. To safely view the eclipse, solar eclipse glasses or viewers made with special solar filters should be used. If viewing the eclipse through binoculars or a telescope special filters that block the dangerous rays of the sun should be used. Children should be supervised when using solar filters or eclipse glasses.
The American Astronomical Society provides information about reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters
The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides tips for Solar Eclipse Eye Safety https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/solar-eclipse-eye-safety
A number of resources have been shared with teachers for classroom use. Discovery Education has an entire solar eclipse content collection for teachers of every grade level and there will also be a LIVE virtual viewing of the totality on the DE website and a Twitterchat during the eclipse. Listed below are many online resources for solar eclipse information, projects, lessons by grade level, and maps to share with students.
SOLAR ECLIPSE ANIMATIONS
Why is a total solar eclipse such a big deal?