On Aug. 21, the sun will go dark in one of nature’s greatest spectacles: a total solar eclipse. This phenomenon happens when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, blocking out the sun for several minutes.
It’s the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since Feb. 26, 1979. Even cooler: It’s the first total solar eclipse since 1776 that’s only visible in the U.S. (The rest of North America will see a partial eclipse.) The path of the total eclipse will cross Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina.
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.
How to earn the BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch
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.
- Locate a site suitable for viewing the eclipse. Search Google for “eclipse viewing” and the name of your city or town to find events near you.
- See the exact path and precise timings at this NASA site.
- Describe how to safely view the eclipse.
- Never look directly at the sun. Instead, look directly at these tips from NASA on how to view the eclipse safely.
- Discuss with your group what you saw and felt during the eclipse.
- Post your comments and eclipse photos on social media using 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 occurs.
- Venturers: Research Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s 1919 experiment and discuss how it confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
- Buy the 2017 Solar Eclipse patch.
- Customers are seeing limited inventory of the patch at Scout Shops. Right now, most Scout Shops will take your order and ship you the patches at a later date — once inventory is replenished.