A total solar eclipse is a rare event. A total solar eclipse whose path crosses right over the heart of the United States? Even rarer.
On Aug. 21, 2017, the solar system serves up a special treat. Aug. 21 is a Monday, but those Scouts and Venturers who are still on summer break should plan a big celebration. Like all the best celebrations, this one comes with its own patch.
There won’t be another total solar eclipse over the United States until 2024. After that, you must wait until 2045. In other words, when Aug. 21 arrives, make sure you’re ready.
WHAT CAN SCOUTS DO WITH THE ECLIPSE?
Plenty! There is a unique BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch that can be earned for your participation.
The requirements to earn the BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch are simple:
- Locate a site suitable for viewing either the total eclipse or the partial eclipse.
- Describe how to safely view the eclipse.
- Discuss with your group what you saw and felt during the eclipse. If you can, post your comments and eclipse photos on social media with the hashtag #BSAEclipse2017.
Do the following:
- Cub Scouts—Discuss what a solar eclipse is with your leaders.
- Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts—Draw a diagram of the positions of the moon, earth, and sun to show how the solar eclipse happens.
- Venturers and Sea Scouts—Research Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s 1919 experiment and discuss how it confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
Your unit leader can buy the 2017 Solar Eclipse patch at your council service center.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
This celestial event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location. For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds.
You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality. That could severely hurt your eyes. However, there are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing – which requires some type of filtering device and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen. Both methods should produce clear images of the partial phase of an eclipse. Click here for eclipse viewing techniques and safety.
Check with local science museums, schools and astronomy clubs for eclipse glasses—or purchase an ISO 12312-2 compliant pair of these special shades!