Viewing an annular or total Solar Eclipse is an experience that children will likely never forget. Follow these tips to ensure your child’s safety throughout the event…
- Make sure that your child wears quality eclipse glasses during the entire event, whenever any part of the Sun is visible. The only time it’s safe to take them off while looking up is during the few minutes when the Sun is completely obscured during the Totality of the Total Solar Eclipse. If your child removes their glasses, be sure to monitor that they put them back on before the Sun is visible again, and keep them on during the partial parts of the eclipse.
- Show your child how to properly wear the protective glasses, and practice using them before the eclipse. Make sure the glasses fit properly, and don’t leak any light around the edges.
- Never, ever use a telescope, binoculars or any other device without properly fitted solar filters even in conjunction with eclipse glasses. Permanent blindness can result.
- Children’s eyes are more vulnerable to damage by the Sun’s rays, since their lenses are usually clearer than those of adults. Even a few seconds of looking at the Sun without proper protection can cause permanent damage, and while it might not be painful right when it happens, it can show up hours or days later. Always be mindful that your child’s eyes are properly protected.
A safe way to view Solar Eclipses is with a pinhole camera. Building a simple pinhole camera with which to view the eclipses indirectly can be an easy, fun project. Here are detailed instructions courtesy of NASA:
Modeling the eclipse
You can show your child how the Moon, which is much smaller than the Sun, blocks the Sun’s rays during a Solar Eclipse using a globe of the Earth, a tennis ball, and a flashlight. Turn out the lights, and shine the flashlight on the globe. The flashlight is a model for the Sun, and the tennis ball is a model of the Moon. Holding the tennis ball in front of the globe, move it around and show the shadow it casts on the globe.
More to come…
Check back here for more activities and information on how to share the amazing upcoming Solar Eclipse experiences with your child.