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Pop-Up Library - Solar Eclipse

This guide provides both library resources and government websites to inform the viewer of this guide about the Solar Eclipse and other NASA and Space Topics.

Mark your calendars for April 8, 2024, as a celestial spectacle unfolds across the continental United States. On this date, a total solar eclipse will offer an exhilarating observation and scientific exploration opportunity. During a total solar eclipse, the Moon gracefully positions itself between the Sun and Earth, completely obscuring the Sun's radiant face. Those fortunate enough to find themselves within the path of the Moon's shadow will witness the extraordinary phenomenon of a total eclipse.

As the Moon's shadow traverses the land, the sky will gradually darken, evoking the tranquil ambiance of dawn or dusk. Weather permitting, observers positioned within the path of totality will be treated to a rare and breathtaking sight: the Sun's corona, its delicate outer atmosphere, revealed against the darkened sky. This celestial event promises to captivate audiences across 15 U.S. states, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible across all 49 continental states. Prepare to be awe-struck as nature puts on a remarkable display, inviting us to marvel at the wonders of the cosmos and deepen our understanding of the universe.

A solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking some or all of the sun's light from reaching parts of the Earth's surface. This alignment creates a temporary shadow on Earth, casting a fascinating spectacle in the sky. According to NASA, there are three main types of solar eclipses: total, partial, and annular.

During a total solar eclipse, the moon completely covers the sun, revealing the sun's outer atmosphere, known as the corona. This remarkable event transforms the daytime sky into darkness, making stars and planets visible. Total solar eclipses are rare and occur only when the moon is at the proper distance from Earth and the sun, aligning perfectly to create this breathtaking phenomenon.

Partial solar eclipses happen when the moon only partially obscures the sun's disk from the vantage point of Earth. As a result, observers witness a crescent-shaped sun as the moon partially blocks its light. Although not as dramatic as a total eclipse, partial eclipses still captivate skygazers worldwide.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is farther away from Earth and appears smaller in the sky, causing it to fail to cover the sun's disk completely. During an annular eclipse, a thin ring of sunlight remains visible around the moon's edges, creating a mesmerizing "ring of fire" effect in the sky.

Solar eclipses offer unique opportunities for scientific research and public engagement. Scientists study the sun's corona during total eclipses to better understand its properties and behavior. Meanwhile, millions worldwide eagerly await these celestial events, often traveling long distances to witness the rare spectacle firsthand.

However, observing solar eclipses safely using proper eye protection, such as solar viewing glasses or special filters, is crucial to prevent permanent eye damage from the intense sunlight. With appropriate precautions, solar eclipses provide unforgettable experiences that inspire wonder and appreciation for the vastness and beauty of our universe.


East lawn of the SE-43 building, Boca Raton campus


FAU’s Astronomical Observatory will be hosting an open to the public, “sidewalk astronomy,” viewing event of the April 8 solar eclipse. Experience the eclipse through telescopes and eclipse glasses to safely view the Sun and the Moon as they appear together in the sky, and enjoy some other fun activities we'll be offering, as well. The Moon will partially block the view of the Sun during the three hour event.

The Astro Details of this April 8th are:   
First contact is at: 1:48 p.m.
Greatest Coverage of <50% is at: 3:02 p.m.
Last contact is at: 4:14 p.m.

Location: East lawn of the SE-43 building, Boca Raton campus. (and the Medical Office Building and Schmidt College of Medicine Building)

Parking: Free parking in lot 4.


Eric Vandernoot
Astronomy & Physics Lab Coordinator
Florida Atlantic University
Observatory:  SE-434  (561) 297-STAR

Last updated on Apr 3, 2024 12:15 PM