Time to mark the calendars because there’s another solar eclipse coming. These cool events are always fun to share with the kids, and if that’s something you’re into, here’s everything you need to know about October’s eclipse, including how to watch it — and what’s coming next.
According to Space.com, we’re getting another solar eclipse, following the stunner we had in April. This time, you’ll want to mark the calendars for October 25, and have a few things ready to watch a partial solar eclipse with the kiddos.
What’s a partial solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse is pretty easy to understand, and even easier to explain to younger kids. In the most basic sense, a solar eclipse happens when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun. When that happens, the Moon blocks what we can see of the Sun here on Earth.
NASA has a really great educational video that goes over what a solar eclipse is, which is worth the watch.
The solar eclipse will look like part of the sun disappeared for a little bit — even as though someone took a bite out of it! It hasn’t, though; we’re just seeing a shadow. In a partial solar eclipse, like what we’re going to see on October 25, the full Sun isn’t in the shadow, but it’s still special to see.
How do I safely watch the partial solar eclipse?
It’s important to note that if you are lucky enough to be in person trying to view the partial solar eclipse, you need to make sure you have the proper safety equipment to do so. It is never safe to look directly at a solar eclipse, which can damage your eyes, leading to blindness and eye damage.
- Do not look directly at the Sun
- Do not use homemade filters, ordinary sunglasses, or even very dark sunglasses, to look directly at the Sun
- Only use special solar filters (eclipse glasses reviewed by Space.com can be found here, handheld solar viewers reviewed by the American Astronomical Society can be found here) to look at the eclipse
- Never look through a camera, binoculars, telescope, or any other tool to see the solar eclipse, and do not use them with solar filters. This can cause serious eye injury and will concentrate the power of the solar rays
- Do not use a special solar filter if it is scratched or damaged
- Do use DIY methods to indirectly view the eclipse, such as pinhole projection, where you can make a pinhole in cardboard, grab a strainer with wide holes, or even a Ritz cracker and look at the shadow the eclipse casts through the holes on the ground
All in all, do not look directly at the Sun unless you have the specific equipment to do so, and make sure that your kids don’t, either. If you are watching the solar eclipse on TV, you don’t need to grab any special equipment.
For more information on how to safely view solar eclipses, visit PreventBlindness.org or the American Astronomical Society. NASA Godard also has a great educational video on how to safely watch solar eclipses. And NPR has a useful video walking you through all of the DIY and purchasable options to make viewing solar eclipses with safety a priority.
Prepping to view the solar eclipse if you are in the path to see it in person can be a great educational activity for you and the kids; it can be craft-time and a safety lesson all in one.
When, where, and how can I view the solar eclipse?
Per Space.com, for parents and kids who want to see the solar eclipse in person, it will be visible from parts of Europe, western Asia, and northeast Africa.
“The partial solar eclipse will begin at 4:58 a.m. EDT (0858 GMT) on Oct. 25 when the moon passes in front of the sun and will end at approximately 9:01 a.m. EDT (1301 GMT),” Space.com adds.
If you don’t live in those areas, there are ways to livestream the eclipse from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project 2.0. The eclipse will be captured from Rome, Italy, and will give those of us in the U.S. a good virtual view. And if you’re watching it online, you do not need to wear any special glasses.
If that’s the plan for your family, you’ll want to bookmark the livestream page so you can jump on quickly at just before 5 a.m. EST.
For those of us who don’t live in Europe, Asia, Africa, there’s some good news: The next total solar eclipse will happen on April 8, 2023, and it will be visible throughout North and Central America.