Skip to content

Eclipse Science Adventures by Dr. Daniel Barth

Observing and Documenting Solar Eclipses for All Ages

This compilation prepared by Dr. Daniel Barth presents a series of eclipse observation and documentation activities suitable for all ages. The emphasis is placed on safety, advocating the use of solar projection, approved filters, or solar glasses for observing solar eclipses securely. The activities are suitable for any eclipse, but were prepared for the October 14th, 2023 event.  Activities include observing and documenting an annular solar eclipse on October 14th, using binoculars to project the eclipse's image for a group, creating an eclipse flip book to animate the eclipse, and crafting an eclipse simulator to showcase the eclipse path. Each activity encourages safe observation and documentation while providing educational engagement and opportunities to earn lab points. Video resources are also provided to aid in understanding and preparing for the eclipse.

Activity 1. Timing the Eclipse

This document outlines an eclipse observation activity focusing on safety and proper methods. It encourages using solar projection, approved solar filters, or solar glasses to observe the solar eclipse safely. The challenge is to observe and document the annular solar eclipse on October 14th. It provides approximate timings for various phases of the eclipse and emphasizes the importance of documenting observations and experiences for credit. Four activities which can be used at home or for school credit (All activities meet AR state and NGSS Standards), including taking a solar selfie, capturing an eclipse photo, making eclipse records, and using multiple observation methods. The activity provides opportunities to earn laboratory science credit (check with your teacher!) and encourages collaborative observation. Additionally, video resources are offered to aid in understanding and preparing for the eclipse.

Activity 2. Observing the Solar Eclipse with Binoculars

This document provides guidance for safely observing a solar eclipse using binoculars. Emphasizing safety as a priority, it underscores the importance of not looking directly at the Sun during the eclipse. The use of binoculars to project the eclipse's image onto a piece of paper is encouraged, allowing groups or classes to view the event simultaneously. The advantages of this method include safety, ease of documentation, and opportunities for educational engagement. The steps for using binoculars for eclipse observation are outlined, highlighting the need for practice and caution, and recommending protective measures for being outdoors during the event.

Activity 3. Make an Eclipse Flip Book

This document introduces an Eclipse Flip Book activity, emphasizing the importance of safety when observing an eclipse. It urges avoiding direct sunlight exposure and encourages projecting the solar image onto an index card every 10 minutes during the eclipse. The outlined steps guide in creating a flip book by tracing and shading the dark portion where the Moon covers the Sun, resulting in an animated representation of the eclipse. Pre-drawn circles on the cards and adjusting the distance from the binoculars for a proper fit enhance the effectiveness of the flip book.

Activity 4. Make an Eclipse Simulator

This document outlines an Eclipse Simulator activity, stressing the importance of safety during solar eclipse observations. The instructions guide readers to trace the path of the Moon using a coin or bottle cap, creating a simulation of the eclipse. The steps involve sketching the solar disk, depicting the eclipse's curve at its maximum, and connecting the points where the Moon contacts the solar disk. The simulator is designed to showcase the eclipse seen on a particular day, allowing for a safer and educational eclipse experience.