Planning Your Eclipse Party

​1. Choose a Location

  • Many eclipse enthusiasts host parties in local community centers, museums, observatories, parks or open fields. Even your own backyard is a good place to throw a party.
  • It is always a good idea to choose place that has access to shade and facilities.
  • You may also want to check weather-related Web sites for forecasts of your area. If the clouds move in, don’t worry! You can always connect to NASA’s live streaming event.
  • Keep checking the Eclipse Event Map for other eclipse events in your area.

2. NASA EDGE Megacast

On August 21, 2017, NASA EDGE will join forces with the NASA Heliophysics Education Consortium, the University of Southern Illinois Carbondale, and Lunt Solar Systems to air a 4-hour 30-minute live webcast of the total solar eclipse from outside Saluki Stadium at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in Illinois. The webcast will begin airing at 11:45 AM EDT (3:45 PM UTC). During course of the Megacast, NASA EDGE will be tracking the eclipse as it starts in Oregon and makes its way across the country ending in South Carolina. You will be introduced to some of the leading experts in the field of Heliosphysics and learn all about the Sun-Earth Connection. Lunt Solar Systems will be providing high resolution and stunning imagery of the eclipse in three different wavelengths of light: Hydrogen-Alpha, Calcium-K, and white light. Oh by the way, you will experience a scientific balloon launch from inside Saluki Stadium, observe several science demonstrations, learn how you can become a citizen scientist, and engage with subject matter experts through social media. So if you're unable to view the eclipse in person, don't worry. Sit back, relax and let NASA EDGE turn your location into the best seat in the house!

Additional streams coming soon!

3. Join an Online Discussion #Eclipse2017

Stay up-to-date with the latest information from our eclipse community through a variety of social media channels. Social media icons can be located on every page of this website.


In addition, the following social media venues will remain very active before, during and after the event!



4. Provide Hands-On Activities

Prepare a variety of activities for your attendees. You can often find great activities and materials at local clubs, schools, and museums. Eclipse activities often include storytelling and/or arts and crafts. You can also find a wide selection of recommended activities online. Below are just a few to get you started:

Measuring Angular Size and Distance
This is an activity about measuring angular size and understanding the solar and lunar proportions that result in solar eclipses. Learners will use triangles and proportions to create a shoebox eclipse simulator. They will then apply what they learn about angular size to predict the diameter and distance of one object that can be eclipsed by another. They will also complete three journal assignments to record observations and conceptual understanding. This activity derives from those demonstrated in the NASA CONNECT television series episode, titled Path of Totality.
Big sun, Small moon
If you’ve ever seen a picture of a solar eclipse, you may have noticed that the moon comes very close to covering the entire sun. Use a coin and a plate to investigate why the sun and moon look like they’re the same size, though the sun is much bigger.
How Can the Little moon Hide the Giant sun? Exploring Size and Distance
This is an activity exploring the concept that distance affects how we perceive an object's size, specifically pertaining to the size of the sun and the moon as seen from Earth. Learners will complete a hands on activity where two balls of differing sizes stand in for the sun and the moon. By moving the balls away from each other, students will determine how far the larger ball needs to be in order to make the two seem similar in size. They will also use the balls to demonstrate a solar eclipse. Lastly, learners will complete a worksheet explaining their findings.
 Eclipse: Using a Classroom Model to Explore the Moon’s Shadow
This lesson provides students with a concrete model of the sun, Earth and moon and their interaction during a solar eclipse. Students observe and manipulate the 3-D model and simulate the movement of these bodies during an eclipse.
Knowing that apparent positions of objects differ with different points of observation will help in estimating distances to the moon and sun. Finding distances by triangulation and scale drawings will help students to understand how the distances to the moon and sun were estimated and why the stars must be very much farther away.
This is an activity about observing the sun. Learners will construct a pinhole projector to project an image of the sun, observe and record the size of the projected image, and calculate the diameter of the sun using the measurements and a known distance to the sun. This activity is from the Touch the sun educator guide.  
ECLIPSE 3D Printable ‘USA and STATE’ PINHOLE PROJECTORS While those in the path of totality will see a TOTAL solar eclipse, everyone will be treated to a PARTIAL eclipse! Where will you be? Why not celebrate the eclipse by making your own 3D Printed Pinhole Projector in the shape of the USA and/or a US State?

5. Explore Mobile Apps

Visit our Eclipse Mobile Apps page for a growing list of apps.

6. Provide Hand-Outs

Visit our ‘Downloadables’ page for a growing list of eclipse materials (bookmarks, posters, etc.) that you can download and print!

7. Watch Eclipse Videos, Visualizations and Animations

NASA has produced several video clips that explain eclipses and how NASA is planning to study this eclipse.  They can be downloaded in various sizes and formats.

NASA Previews 2017 Total Solar Eclipse:  The Path of Totality across the USA is represented.  On August 21, 2017, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth in alignment that will cast the moon’s shadow, 170 miles wide, onto Earth.

2017 Eclipse Shadow Cones: The umbral and penumbral shadow cones travel across the surface of the Earth during the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.

2017 Eclipse and the Moon’s Orbit: Solar eclipses can only occur at New Moon, when the Moon is between the Earth and the sun. But not every New Moon produces an eclipse. The Moon's orbit is slightly tilted, and as seen in this animation, the tilt causes the Moon's shadow to miss the Earth during most New Moons—about five out of six, in fact.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse in the U.S.: A view of the United States during the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, showing the umbra (black oval), penumbra (concentric shaded ovals), and path of totality (red) through or very near several major cities.

2017 Eclipse: Earth, Moon, Sun: A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the sun and the Earth, casting its shadow on the Earth. The shadow comprises two concentric cones called the umbra and the penumbra. Observers on the Earth who are within the smaller, central umbra see the sun completely blocked. Within the larger penumbra, the sun is only partially blocked.

Path of Totality: Angular Distance
Learn about the natural phenomenon that creates a total solar eclipse and the relative movement of objects in our solar system.  Explore the history, mythology, and science surrounding these amazing events.

8. Fielding Eclipse Questions

People will have all sorts of questions about the eclipse and, most likely, about a wide range of astronomy topics, so be prepared to spend some of your time just answering questions. The following resources will help you with that task:

9. Invite Local Speakers

10. Safe Solar Viewing

An eclipse is a rare and striking phenomenon you won't want to miss, but you must carefully follow safety procedures. Don't let the requisite warnings scare you away from witnessing this singular spectacle! You can experience the eclipse safely, but it is vital that you protect your eyes at all times with the proper solar filters. No matter what recommended technique you use, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and give your eyes a rest! Do not use sunglasses: they don't offer your eyes sufficient protection. Visit our SAFETY page for more information.   

11. Timing is Everything

Observers should be made aware of the times of ingress and egress and prompted with time updates every 10-15 minutes. For solar eclipses, announcements of the totality times (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th contact) should be made. Here it is especially important to sound an alarm maybe 15 seconds before totality ends so that people are not caught looking at or photographing the eclipse without solar filters when the sun reemerges from behind the moon.

12. Work with Local Schools and Classrooms

Share the resources on this website with your local school districts or after school groups. Work with teachers to prepare students who you invite to your eclipse party.
Pre-Eclipse Party – If hosting an event on the day of the eclipse isn't possible, consider hosting your party before the eclipse to prepare your audience for the live webcast.
Post-Eclipse Party – An edited copy of the live webcast will be available within hours after the eclipse. It's the perfect addition to those of you who might want to host a party after the event.

13. Hold a Contest

Hosting a contest can be a great way to get people excited about your launch party. You can announce the winners at your party, and offer a small prize to incentive people if you so choose. Here are a few potential ideas for contests:

  • Best poster about eclipse themes
  • Best essay about eclipse themes
  • Best edible model design
  • Most creative diorama

14. Set Up an Eclipse (Party) Photo Gallery

Set up your own photo gallery to Set up your own photo gallery to inspire people and showcase the beauty of the eclipse and your event! You can use your own photos, ask people for submissions, or use some of ours. Start by taking a look at our growing Flickr Group gallery.