Educators & The Eclipse

I have a school group that I would like to see the solar eclipse, can I bring them to campus?

Yes, plans are currently being made to accommodate the large crowds expected to want to view the eclipse on campus. Saluki Stadium and the SIU Arena will be two venues where school and youth groups will have priority space and eclipse glasses reserved. A large number of eclipse glasses will be available on campus as well as views from special solar telescopes.

I want to plan an event at my school. Who do I contact for help?

SIU Carbondale is part of a national effort to educate and enable groups to hold their own events.
For more information, contact Dr. Harvey Henson at

Teaching Aids, Activities, and Safety Information

The internet is full of resources that will help teachers prepare for the 2024 Eclipse. We have compiled some of our favorites here.


NASA Activity for Simulating an Eclipse in the Classroom
Students discover relative relationships between the Sun, Earth, and Moon and how the Moon can eclipse the Sun.

Bob Miller's Light Walk

Bob Miller, an Exploratorium exhibit builder, explores the dynamics of light and how our eye can see the world through a pinhole of a pupil and how we can take advantage of this to make a pinhole camera that will let us see the world, in particular the Sun and solar eclipses.

Bob Miller’s Web Page

Bob Miller’s You Tube Video
Explaining how our eyes see the world, and how a pinhole can image a light source.

Activities from William P. Blair

Several activities demonstrating the geometry of the Earth and the Earth, Moon, Sun system
Blair, W. P. (2001). Some basic astronomy demonstrations for early elementary ages.

Several demonstrations for use in the classroom that should help put the sizes and distances of astronomical objects into a more understandable perspective.
Blair, W. P. (2004). Size scales in astronomy.

Virtual Ballooning

An interactive simulation that allows students to explore Earth’s atmosphere including pressures and temperature. Shared by the Adler Planetarium.

Virtual Ballooning to Explore the Atmosphere. (n.d.). Retrieved July 07, 2016
Virtual Ballooning to Explore the Atmosphere

Inexpensive Eclipse Activities

From Michelle Nichols, Master Educator, Adler Planetarium, Chicago, IL
Inexpensive eclipse activities slides
Inexpensive eclipse activities “Read Me” file with instructions

Other Educator Resources

NASA Wavelength – A full spectrum of NASA Resources for Earth and Space Science Education
Sun-Earth Day 2009 – Total solar eclipse, China
Eclipse in a Different Light – Sun-Earth Day 2006 page for educators
Night Sky Network – Astronomy clubs bringing the wonders of the universe to the public

It’s a Dark Day In Africa and Australia Today; Eclipse of Sun to Touch U.S. in 1923” The Oregonian 22 September 1922: page 20.

Eclipse of Sun Will Be Visible in Carbondale for Two Hours July 20.” The Daily Egyptian 13 July 1963: page 3.

Eclipse of Sun Today Will Endanger Many Eyes.” The Daily Egyptian 20 July 1963: page 1.

Escape From Sun: Security of a Glass Mug Prevents Need of Tin Cup.” The Daily Egyptian 23 July 1963: page 3.

The Art and Science of Solar Eclipses.” American Scientist July-August 2016; Page: 208.

Describes the wonders of viewing the corona during a solar eclipse, and how the human eye sees things telescopes can’t. It also describes the role art plays in sharing the experience of a solar eclipse. Includes links to a NASA video that describes how art captures perceptions of the solar corona.


Arnold McCully, Emily. Caroline’s Comets: A True Story. Holiday House, 2017.

“This picture book biography explores the life of a famous woman astronomer who lived from 1750 to 1848. Caroline Herschel discovered galaxies, nebulae and was the first woman to discover a comet. Her other claim to fame was that she was the first woman scientist who was paid for her work.”

Burleigh, Robert. Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer. New York: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013.

“This is a picture book biography of the woman who discovered how the brightness of stars had fixed patterns, information that would later be used to measure distances through space. Amazingly, at the time she did her work, women weren’t even allowed to use telescopes; she made her observations from photographs.”

Espenak, Patricia Totten, and Fred Espenak. Total Eclipse or Bust! A Family Road Trip. Portal: AstroPixels, 2015.

Story of a family’s trip to view a total solar eclipse.  Geared toward children, the book recounts stories, histories, and experiences of past eclipses.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Illus. by Deborah Lanino. Maria’s Comet. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2003.

“Maria longs to be an astronomer — wish that burns as brightly as a star. But girls in the nineteenth century don’t grow up to be scientists, especially those who are needed at home. Each night when her papa sweeps the sky with his telescope, Maria sweeps the floor below, imagining all the strange worlds he can travel to from the rooftop of their Nantucket home.

Then one night Maria finally gets her chance to look through her papa’s telescope. For the first time, she beholds the night sky stretching endlessly above her, and her dream of exploring the comets and constellations seems close enough to touch. “

Hoult, Janet Cameron. Where Did the Sun Go? Myths and Legends of Solar Eclipses Around the World Told with Poetry and Puppetry. Denver: Outskirts Press, 2013.

This book includes solar eclipse-related poems from around the world.  Also included are scripts of solar eclipse-themed puppet shows with stage directions, hints, and instructions on creating the puppets.

Shepherd, Jodie. Mae Jemison. C. Press/F. Watts Trade, 2015.

As the first African American woman in space, Mae Jemison broke many barriers in science and space technology. Her further work with philanthropies helps bring technology education to those who might not otherwise have access to it.

Whitethorne, Baje, Sr. Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun. Flagstaff: Salina Bookshelf, Inc., 2002.

Children’s book about a boy and his grandfather experiencing a total eclipse. Navajo stories about eclipses are recounted and illustrated in this book.

Van Vleet, Carmella, and Dr. Kathy Sullivan. Illus. by Nicole Wong. To the Stars!: The First American Woman to Walk in Space. Charlesbridge, 2016.

“An inspiring story of how Dr. Kathy Sullivan, a young girl who loved exploring, defied convention and became the first American woman to walk in space.”

Yasuda, Anita. Explore the Solar System!: 25 Great Projects, Activities, Experiments (Explore Your World). White River Junction: Nomad Press, 2009.

Book geared to grades K-4 with hands-on activities centered on astronomy, including projects about the moon, sun, and solar eclipses.


Mass, Wendy. Every Soul a Star: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown, 2008. Print.

A young adult novel for middle and high school students about three very different teenagers finding their place in the universe. One of the families runs a campground that has been planning for a solar eclipse for several years, and will change management with one of the teenagers whose family is from a large city.


Bakich, Michael. Your Guide to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Cham: Springer, 2016.

Michael Bakich, the senior editor and photo editor of Astronomy magazine authored this book on the total solar eclipse in 2017.  It includes sections on safety, photography, equipment, weather forecasts, as well as general information on the eclipse.

Baron, David. American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. Liveright: 2016.

American Eclipse tells the story of these pioneering scientists—planet hunter James Craig Watson, astronomer Maria Mitchell, and inventor Thomas Edison—who gathered in the West with an extraordinary cast of supporting characters on a day when the sun hid and far more was revealed.”

Espenak, Fred, and Jay Anderson. Eclipse Bulletin: Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21. Portal: AstroPixels, 2015.

Billed as the ultimate guide for the August 2017 total solar eclipse, this bulletin was authored by retired astrophysicist Fred Espenak and meteorologist Jay Anderson.  The bulletin includes details, tables, maps, local circumstance tables for cities across the United States, climatological studies, a travelogue, and eclipse photography information.

Espenak, Fred. Road Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017. Portal: AstroPixels, 2015.

Companion guide to the 2017 Eclipse Bulletin.  It provides a series of 37 maps detailing the solar eclipse of 2017’s path of totality across the United States.

Léna, Pierre. Racing the Moon’s Shadow with Concorde 101. Cham: Springer, 2015.

Details the story of scientists who traveled on the Concorde 001 supersonic aircraft to observe the 1973 solar eclipse for 74 consecutive minutes.

Littmann, Mark, Fred Espenak, and Ken Willcox. Totality: Eclipses of the Sun. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. 2008.

Reference book about solar eclipses that includes observations from eclipse viewers and information on observing and photographing solar eclipses.  History and mythology about solar eclipses as well as maps, diagrams, and statistics are also included.

Mobberley, Martin. Total Solar Eclipses and How to Observe Them. New York: Springer, 2007.

Author of several astronomy books, Martin Mobberley explains basics about eclipses, as well as the equipment needed to view and photograph them.

Russo, Kate. Total Addiction. Berlin: Springer, 2012.

Book by self-proclaimed eclipse chaser Kate Russo.  It details her research about and interviews with fellow eclipse chasers from around the world.

General Scientific Resources

Solar Eclipse for Beginners

Solar eclipse for beginners
General information on the science of a solar eclipse with resource links

Shadow and Substance

Shadow and Substance
A general website of astronomical information with specifics on the 2017 eclipse at the bottom of the page.

Shadow and Substance’s eclipse page
Shadow and Substance’s eclipse page with a simulation for Illinois showing where totality and partial phases can be viewed.

NASA Eclipse Education

A starting point for all NASA resources related to teaching and exploring solar eclipses. As stated on the website, ” NASA provides offerings in the history of eclipses, science and math activities, and activities in communication and art, we cover many classroom topics in a unique, cross-curricular manner.”

NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio Eclipse Gallery

Scientifically accurate visualizations of solar eclipses including position of Earth, Moon, and the Sun and path of the Moon’s shadow from different perspectives.

Scientific Visualization Studio home page

Shadow with Partial Phases Shown

Moon Earth Position Showing Tilt and Relative Distance

A comprehensive eclipse website with maps, simulations and historical articles
Total solar eclipse of 2017 | (n.d.). Retrieved July 08, 2016

The Astronomical Association of Queensland

Detailed information on solar eclipses, and classroom activities with downloadable detailed lesson plans

PBS LearningMedia

WSIU and the Illinois public broadcasting stations offer educators from preschool through college with free access to thousands of innovative, standards-aligned digital resources, compelling student experiences, and professional development opportunities. Use search terms such as astronomy, constellation, eclipse, space, star, and telescope to explore videos, interactive lessons and other resources for teaching and learning about the eclipse.

PBS KIDS Ready Jet Go!

READY JET GO! is a kid’s first introduction to space, earth science, and technology, presented in an entertaining and engaging way that will inspire a life-long interest. Kids ages 3 to 8 will be learning alongside a seasoned space traveler. As an alien from Borton 7, Jet sees our Planet Earth like we want our kids to see it: with a sense of curiosity and wonder.

Historic / Primary Source Resources

1878 Observing the Total Eclipse

A primary source document from 1878 on how to observe a total solar eclipse. It includes a template for drawing the corona, and government instructions for observing the eclipse both with your eye or a camera. The template is on page 31 with an example on page 33.

James Fenimore Cooper’s Article on the 1806 Eclipse

James Fenimore Cooper’s recollections of the 1806 eclipse. The article is a detailed description of his experience viewing the eclipse.

Maria Mitchell’s account of the 1869 Eclipse

Maria Mitchell, the Vassar astronomer who headed an all-female expedition to Denver for the 1878 eclipse, also brought Vassar students to the 1869 eclipse in Iowa. Here is an essay she wrote about that experience.