On August 21, 2017 parts of the United States will get to see a solar eclipse. We homeschool so even though school doesn’t technically start until next week, this was a great opportunity for a science lesson.
The moon orbits around Earth. Earth orbits around the sun. During a solar eclipse the moon is directly in front of the sun for a few minutes, casting a huge shadow and making it appear dark. Then the moon continues on its orbit and the sun appears again.
Here’s a quick YouTube video geared towards kids that’s short and pretty interesting, especially the actual time-lapsed video of a solar eclipse filmed in Australia.
Never look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse because it can burn your eyes.
Normally if you glance at the sun, it’s too bright and your eyes blink and begin to tear up. During an eclipse the darkness, or perhaps the sheer curiosity factor, may make it easier to look at the sun for longer. But don’t! Think of an egg thrown into a hot pan; that’s what the sun can do to your eyes.
Lots of people buy solar eclipse sun glasses, but if you don’t want to shell out the cash you are a procrastinator and didn’t get around to buying them, fear not! You can still make a box to view the eclipse safely out of materials you probably have around the house anyway.
How to Make A Solar Eclipse Box:
- Empty cereal box
- White paper
- Paper clip
- Aluminum foil
- Stand up the cereal box on white paper and trace the outline of the bottom of the box
- Cut out the outline
- Put the white paper outline in the bottom of the cereal box
- Cut two rectangles on both ends of the cereal box top
- Take a piece of aluminum foil and cover one of the open squares. Tape it down so it doesn’t move.
- Open the paper clip and use it to puncture one hold in the middle of the aluminum foil side.
- When you go outside, face away from the sun and look into the box. The sun will shine through that little hole in the aluminum foil and you will see it on the inside of the box.
Here’s a video clip from NASA of the procedures we used.
Have fun with science and be safe!