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Solar Eclipse 2017

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2017 Solar Eclipse Party. Through your efforts we were able to host 35 solar eclipse celebrations at different locations in North and South Carolina and we served over 100,000 people.


On that date, when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, the entire United States will experience a partial solar eclipse for up to a few hours. Those fortunate to be within the “path of totality” – a roughly 70-mile wide path from Oregon to South Carolina – will experience a total solar eclipse lasting up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

The southwestern corner of North Carolina, and much of South Carolina, lies in the path of totality and will experience the total solar eclipse. All of the Carolinas will experience a partial solar eclipse. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the 48 states since 1979 and the first total solar eclipse visible from the Carolinas since 1970. 

A total solar eclipse is a grand spectacle, considered by many to be the most awe-inspiring sight nature has to offer. During totality, it turns dark in the daytime, the temperature drops, and the Sun’s corona and bright stars and planets become visible. If you are able, plan to be in the path of totality on August 21. You will make memories for a lifetime.

As part of the Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party, more than 50 locations in North and South Carolina will offer eclipse viewing events for the public on August 21, 2017. These locations will be spread throughout the two states, both within and outside the path of totality. (Morehead Planetarium and Science Center plans to hold an eclipse event, but please note that our location will experience only a partial eclipse.) For a list of Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party sites in NC, click here.

Important safety information:

How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safety (in English)

Como Ver el Eclipse Solar del 2017 con Segurida (in Spanish)

Eclipse resources:

Overview of the 2017 solar eclipse (Morehead blog post)

Eye safety (information from the American Astronomical Society)

Interactive eclipse map

NC eclipse map (sites listed are not necessarily part of the Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party)

SC eclipse map (sites listed are not necessarily part of the Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party)

NASA’s 2017 eclipse website

An Observer’s Guide to Viewing the Eclipse (free 8-page PDF published by the National Science Teachers Association)

Get Eclipsed: The Complete Guide to the American Eclipse by Pat & Fred Espenak

Web resources for the eclipse

Getting a Feel for Eclipses by Cassandra Runyon et al. (tactile book) 

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass (middle grades novel about a total solar eclipse)

Links to educational activities:

Moon Phases and Eclipses (model moon phases and eclipses with polystyrene balls)

Yardstick Eclipse activity (another way to model eclipses)

Solar Eclipse (how the Moon can cast a shadow on Earth)

Big Sun, Small Moon (how a tiny moon can appear to cover a big sun)

Solar Pizza (explore the relative sizes and distance of Sun and Earth)

Eclipse Cereal Box Viewer

Solar System Walk (take a vacation through the solar system, from the Sun to Pluto) – instructions, cards for each vacation stop, ticket on Proxima Centauri Airlines, make your own solar system walk

Pocket Solar System (make a scale model of the distances in our solar system)

Eclipse Chalk Art (draw the eclipse and the Sun’s corona)

Bear's Shadow (experiment with shadows)

Protection from Ultraviolet (use UV beads to explore ultraviolet light)

Explore the Sun observing cards

Arts activities from NASA

Partners for the Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party

. . . and all the Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party hosts and their partners

For more information

Mickey Jo Sorrell and Amy Sayle

NC coordinators, Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party

Email: eclipse@unc.edu

Note: North Carolina hosts for the Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party have already been selected.