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Solar Eclipses

Solar eclipse hero without text overlay
Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

A total solar eclipse is coming to North America!

  • Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will be seen in the US from Texas to Maine; all of North America will have at least a partial solar eclipse.
  • How Can You See It?
    You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection.  That could severely hurt your eyes. However, there are numerous safe ways to view an eclipse.  Please see safe viewing techniques below.

Children watching solar eclipse with safety viewers surrounded by paper plates



NASA solar eclipse diagram showing positions of Earth Moon and the Sun

What is a solar eclipse?

During a solar eclipse the the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the Sun. During a total solar eclipse, the Moon lines up perfectly to fully block the Sun; in a partial solar eclipse, the Moon only blocks part of the Sun; and during an annular eclipse, alignment is perfect but the Moon is too far away from the Earth to completely obscure the Sun. 

This is different from a lunar eclipse, when the Earth blocks most of the sunlight that normally reaches the Moon. In a solar eclipse, the Sun gets darker; in a lunar eclipse, the Moon gets darker.  Visit our lunar eclipse page to learn more.Watch this NASA video to learn more about the different roles of the Moon in lunar and solar eclipses.

More about solar eclipses:


Solar Eclipse NASA United States map April 8th 2024 created by NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

Solar eclipse map showing where the Moon’s shadow will cross the U.S. during the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse.
Different versions and higher resolutions available for download:
Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Maps and Times

April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse (Monday)

More Upcoming Eclipses



Solar Eclipse ativity with young museum visitors at 2017 Science Museum of Minnesota Earth Day event

Hands-on Activities During Your Event


Two young learners using the DIY Sun Science app

At-Home Activities and Apps

  • DIY Sun Science App 
    DIY Sun Science includes 15 easy-to-use hands-on activities to learn about the Sun and its important relationship with Earth. Learn how to cook in a solar oven, measure the size of the Sun, or explore shadows in model Moon craters! Each activity includes step-by-step instructions that have been tested by educators, kids, and families. Activity materials are easily available and inexpensive. PDF versions of hands-on activities are also available for download in both English and Spanish.


OMSI solar eclipse event


You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection.  That could severely hurt your eyes.  However, there are numerous safe ways to view an eclipse.  

An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won't want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures. It is vital that you protect your eyes at all times. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are NOT safe for looking at the Sun. 

Person examining shadow patterns from a solar eclipse through a collander


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Community Event Planning and Preparation

Bulletin of the AAS Celebrating the Wonder of Science in the Shadow 2024 screenshot
Read or download the BAAS special issue articles for free 

A view of the Sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory
A view of the Sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory

What should I do with my used solar eclipse safety viewing glasses?

  • Save them for Solar Viewing
    You can store your solar eclipse safety viewing glasses and use them for safely looking at the Sun anytime. Even without a telescope, it is possible to observe sunspots on the surface of the sun through eclipse glasses. According to the America Astronomical Society, If the filters aren't scratched, punctured, torn, or otherwise damaged, you may reuse them indefinitely.
  • Donations
    Several organizations collect used eclipse glasses so that they can be used for future solar eclipses in other parts of the world.
  • Recycle and Disposal
    If you are going to throw out your eclipse glasses, you can remove the lenses and recycle the cardboard frame. The lenses themselves aren’t recyclable, so you should toss them in the trash.

solar eclipse NASA evergreen fact sheet summarizing safe viewing



Working with STEM Experts Guide cover including an image of expert  puring a liquid and using a strainer with a girl and her family at a museum public event

Finding STEM Experts

We encourage you to seek out local experts for your public events.  Many astronomy enthusiasts plan to travel to the path of totality, but many will be staying closer to home, so please check out all of these different resources to find experts near you:  


Solar Eclipse live stream from the Exploratorium on a mobile phone

Live Streaming of the Solar Eclipse

The Exploratorium will be live streaming the solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024 in multiple formats including on mobile devices; options include telescope imagery without narration as well as educational programming and narration in English and Spanish:


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Citizen Science and Community Science Projects

A solar eclipse presents many opportunities for amateur astronomers and lifelong learners to get in on the fun of doing science. 

Multimedia - Animations and Visualizations

  • NASA Scientific Visualization Studio animations
  • NASA Eyes April 2024 - embeddable, interactive, 3D simulation where you can see what the eclipse would look like from anywhere on the planet, and see exact timing of the different phases.


Family using safe solar viewing glasses

Promotional Images and Photos

Images and videos of solar eclipses and people experiencing for educational and promotional purposes


solar eclipse dog poster with a dog wearing solar viewing glasses (credit NASA Genna Duberstein)




Family watching the solar eclipse safely

Taking Photos and Videos



NISE Network_Solar Eclipse slide presentation overview showing a partial eclipse of the Sun



Schools and Libraries

Planetarium Shows


Facilitator discussing eclipses holding models of the Earth and Moon

Training for Staff and Volunteers



Cover of a Solar Science book featuring an artistic image of a solar eclipse

Books and Booklets


Child looking using his hand to feel textures in a tactile book about Earth and space science

Sensory Resources



Ways of Knowing Solar Eclipses around the world slide from Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Cultural Connections

Night Sky Storytelling