On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Because no other country will get to see this total eclipse, it’s being nicknamed “The All-American Eclipse.” The last time a total eclipse crossed the United States from sea to sea was June 8, 1918. In the U.S., millions will gather along a tiny ribbon less than 100 miles wide to see totality, the complete blocking out of the sun by the Moon which will reveal the solar corona (the closest total eclipse viewing area near us is Carbondale, IL). The rest of entire country will be able to see a partial eclipse (that’s us!). It is also truly an historic event and a wonderful opportunity to view one of nature’s most stunning displays. The next eclipse to go through the continental U.S. will be on April 8, 2024, so you don’t want to miss this party!
Come Celebrate This Awesome Event with Us!
Nature At The Confluence is partnering with South Beloit Library and Beloit Library to bring a special Solar Eclipse Celebration to our community, Monday, August 21, 11.30am-2:30pm at Nature At The Confluence Learning Center, 306 Dickop Street, South Beloit, Illinois.
It is important to wear safety glasses when viewing the eclipse and the South Beloit Library has received Solar Eclipse Viewing Glasses as part of a grant to provide them free to the community. We have limited supply of glasses and they will be available only while supplies last. We will reserve a few dozen for sharing.
Solar Eclipse Celebration Activities – Free to the community, no registration needed!
If it is cloudy that day we will still have some of the activities (those not dependent on the sun) and will livestream NASA’s coverage of the total eclipse inside the learning center.
- 11:51 am – The eclipse begins (a small sliver will become noticable – glasses must be worn when viewing)
- 12:00pm – Solar Eclipse Discovery Stops
- Make a Sundial – You only need the sun to know what time it is! Come make your own sun dial to take home
- Make a Nature Sunprint – use the power of the sun to make a beautiful take-home memory of this event
- Solar Oven Demonstration – Come see if we can make s’mores using only the heat from the sun!
- Solar Eclipse Simulator – Make this paper simulator of the eclipse that lets you follow along as the event happens
- Roast your own s’mores in our big fireplace!
- 12:45 pm – Solar Firestarting Throwdown – We’re pitting Beloit Library against South Beloit Library in a Solar Firestarting challenge to see who can get a fire started the fastest using only the sun’s rays to start it!
- 1:16 pm – Maximum partial eclipse of the sun – this is it!
- 2:39 pm – Eclipse is over – go home with great memories of celebrating the “All-American Eclipse” with us!
What is A Solar Eclipse?
A total eclipse is when the Sun is completely hidden by the Moon, the sky becomes dark, and the Sun’s faint atmosphere (its corona) becomes visible – like a beautiful halo. This total eclipse will ONLY be visible on a narrow track stretching from Oregon to South Carolina across the U.S.
The rest of the U.S. and other parts of North and Central America will see a partial eclipse, where the Moon covers only a portion of the Sun. A partial eclipse may not be as aweinspiring and memorable as a total eclipse, but it is still a beautiful experience that will not quickly be forgotten. It will be important to use safe viewing strategies during the partial eclipse, since it is dangerous to look at without something to protect your eye.
A total eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon gets between the Sun and the Earth and covers up the Sun. It just so happens that the Moon and the Sun, as seen from Earth, are the same size in the sky. So if the two are exactly lined up, the Moon can hide the Sun from our sight. When this happens, the sky darkens and the fainter outer layers of the Sun become visible. This allows us to see the Sun’s atmosphere (corona) — a beautiful ring of light around the edge of the dark Moon. The sky becomes so dark, stars become visible, birds stop chirping because they think it is time to roost, and people have an eerie sense of it being night in the middle of the day. Many people feel that a total eclipse is one of the most beautiful natural sights, and worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.