Almost 100 years ago, in 1918, a total solar eclipse was visible across the width of the continental U.S. On August 21, 2017, residents of the U.S. will have the opportunity to experience this rare occurrence once again. On this day, every state in the U.S. will have at least 60 percent of the sun covered by the moon. A lucky few on a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will see the eclipse in totality.
To support learning around this spectacular event, funding from the foundation will enable the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning and StarNet to provide more than 1.2 million solar-viewing glasses, and other resources, for 1,500 public libraries across the nation. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially eclipsed, is dangerous. Providing solar-viewing glasses will allow the public to safely experience the eclipse.
“There is nothing like a total solar eclipse to remind you that you live on a planet that is moving around the sun. When the sun goes black as the moon moves in front to block its light, it’s hard to suppress a yearning for it to return, even when you know gravity will do the job. We’re pleased to help two million eyes enjoy and understand this astronomical spectacle with astronomical spectacles,” said Robert Kirshner, Ph.D., chief program officer of science at the foundation.
Support to experience the total solar eclipse is one of many ways the Moore Foundation is connecting communities with low-cost tools to engage in science. Other examples have included support of the Foldscope and OpenROV. People are encouraged to check with their public library the availability of solar-viewing weeks ahead of August 21 to ensure they find the nearest point in the path of viewing the total eclipse and make a plan to get to that location. There are websites that show “maps of the path of totality” to assist people with their viewing plans.
To learn more about the Space Science Institute’s work on this project, including the registration process for public libraries managed by the STAR Library Education Network and its NASA@ My Library project, read the recent press release here.