Just a quick check in today with a few resources about the total solar eclipse happening next Monday, August 21.
For my favorite essay about the eclipse, here’s a link to Annie Dillard’s Total Eclipse. (I wonder why she named it that?) I read this essay (again) last fall after I made us reservations in Wyoming. I came out from my room with tears in my eyes to tell my family we were going to the eclipse. They all looked at me in bewilderment until one of them asked, “Um… Mom, are you crying?”
No pressure, but the Atlantic reprinting will expire the day after the eclipse, on August 22. After that, you can find Annie’s Dillard’s essay in Teaching a Stone to Talk, and in her more recent anthology, The Abundance.
It might be too late to buy eclipse glasses, but if you already have some, double check that they meet the requirements necessary to protect your vision. For a list of vendors who have certified their filters and glasses, check here. The glasses should say “Meets the requirement for ISO 1231202:2015.” Don’t ask me what those numbers mean. I have no idea.
If you can’t get glasses in time, you could still use the eclipse as an opportunity to study the retina and how light causes vision. Here are some resources for that: how sun damages your eyes, a 47-second video on how the retina works, and a Crash Course video on vision.
For more information on the eclipse’s path, check NASA’s site of maps, both interactive and state-by-state. NASA also has links on to how to build a safe solar viewer (for anyone who can’t get their hands on safe glasses), eclipse art projects, and educational resources, including ones specific for homeschoolers!
The Atlantic has all sorts of articles on the eclipse. Here’s a link to their coverage. Space.com had a great article explaining why the eclipse moves west to east, instead of east to west. The L.A. Times addressed what sort of behavior we can expect from animals during the eclipse. And if all of that is just too much, here is a link to Space.com’s beginner’s guide to eclipse viewing (with a video from NASA).
Here’s hoping we can plant and water the seeds of wonder and curiosity in the next generation.