sun

Eclipse Watching


A photo I took during a partial eclipse.

Solar eclipses are fairly rare, so it is always a treat to be able to observe one. The main challenge is to find a way to see the eclipse, without damaging your eyes. While there are special filters that let you watch an eclipse, there is also a very safe, very simple way to observe it with materials that you probably already have.

You will need:

Making a Scale Model of the Solar System

Take a moment and imagine our solar system. Think about what it would look like if you were moving through it in a space ship. Once you have that image in your mind, get ready to replace it with a much more accurate image.

Our solar system is a very large place, and most of it us empty space. Because of the way it is shown in textbook drawings, on TV, and in movies, most people have trouble imagining the actual sizes and distances of the planets. This simple activity lets you use a scale model to visualize those sizes and distances.