Although your mother probably told you to never look directly at the sun with your naked eye, I’m sure skywatchers across the U.S. will be fixated on the that big bright star Monday, August 21. That’s when we’ll experience a rare total solar eclipse across America.
For some Dallas children, the solar eclipse also coincides with their first day of school. Many kids might think that the sudden darkness might entitle them to a few more minutes of shut-eye.
Although this celestial event won’t give you an excuse to hit the snooze button, it’s still a pretty big deal since it’s the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental U.S. in nearly 100 years. Enthusiasts have booked up hotels in the eclipse’s path and some people have been planning trips for years just to see this this solar spectacle.
Here in North Texas, we won’t get the full effect but it will still be pretty amazing. Local meteorologists predict that folks in Dallas will see a partial eclipse as the moon covers part of the sun, roughly between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on August 21.
In contrast, other folks in the U.S. will get the full eclipse enchilada.
The total eclipse will stretch from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. Depending on where observers are located, the sun may be completely obscured by the moon for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
Although you’ve got to be in the path to see the eclipse in totality, you and your kids can still have a lot of fun getting ready for the big event with fun, creative and challenging ways from family-friendly activities to sophisticated science projects.
Attend a Solar Eclipse Watch Party
The Frontiers of Flight Museum , 6911 Lemmon Ave., will host a Solar Eclipse Watch Party on Monday, August 21 from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. On Solar Eclipse Day, the museum will provide the first 300 visitors a pair of “Eclipse Glasses” free with regular admission. These special glasses allow safe viewing of the sun directly during the eclipse.
The Frontiers of Flight Museum will also feature viewing through special telescopes and a live stream of the eclipse from NASA.
Do-It-Yourself Time Capsules
Your kids will have a blast creating their own time capsule to commemorate the solar eclipse experience in North Texas.
When might you want it opened? Perhaps on April 8, 2024 when the next total solar eclipse crosses the continental U.S.! How old will you and your kids be then? What message do you think your kids would like to send to their future selves across 7 years of time?
- How about getting your kids to write a letter to themselves describing what their dreams might be for the year 2024, or beyond?
- Get your kids to try their hand at drawing what Dallas might look like when the time capsule is opened.
Dancing Along the Path
During the total solar eclipse capture a short video (less than 1 min) of your family doing an original dance inspired by the eclipse. You can share your video with NASA on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by using #EclipseDance. Don’t forget to include a brief description with your uploaded image.
Eclipse Art Quilt Project
If you’re more the arts-and-crafts type, why not share your family’s talent by participating in the Eclipse Art Quilt project? After viewing the partial solar eclipse in North Texas, create your own piece of artwork. You have until September 15 to complete your work, take a picture and upload it to this Flickr group or Twitter by using #EclipseArtQuilt. Don’t forget to include a brief description with your uploaded image.
Don’t miss the chance to experience this rare event on Monday, August 21 and learn more from NASA about the solar eclipse across America here!