2017 Solar Eclipse – Our First Official Day of School

We weren’t in the path of totality, but we were close enough to be fine staying home to view the 2017 solar eclipse. To prepare for the eclipse, we watched some short, cool videos regarding what would happen. Some of our favorites were:

We said syzygy about a million times and it’s just as fun each time, try it!

Before the eclipse began, I made a stack of sandwiches, cut up several apples, and got some bottles of water filled so we could stay outside for the entire eclipse.

Disclaimer: The eclipse really happened. My phone auto-corrected the pictures as it was taking them so they would be brighter than it actually was. It was too hard to see my phone to realize that it was doing that until it was too late to retake the pictures. 

We brought out a stack of note cards, a push pin, and markers to make eclipse viewers. It’s as simple as poking a hole in one note card, then holding it over another note card while standing with your back to the sun. The first time, it takes a little bit of adjusting to line it up perfectly, but when it works, it displays the shape of the sun onto the note card. We had a great time checking it about every 10 minutes and it was amazing seeing how the shape changed. We were skeptical that the shape would change since the hole was round, but it actually worked!

Making a push pin solar eclipse viewer.

Experimenting with multiple pinholes.

To pass the time, we read a cute, short story about a bear that’s so hungry he eats the sun. It can be easily adapted for a lunar eclipse also. We saw a few squirrels running around so I changed the chipmunk in the story to a squirrel and the girls loved that the story contained a squirrel. They pretended that the squirrel in our yard was the same squirrel in the story and that he was collecting food for the bear.

As the sun became almost completely eclipsed, we heard an owl start hooting. Previously, we had discussed that animals may start to think it’s nighttime and begin their nighttime routines. Mimi thought this was great and pretended to sleep as the owl hooted. 

When the solar eclipse was  two minutes from reaching totality (99.4% in our area), Adi had to go to the bathroom. I was as patient as I possibly could be as we rushed into the house. It was a happy detour though, as we discovered the house was pitch black inside! Compared to the backyard, which looked like early sunset, it was surprising to walk into a dark house.

I attempted to take a picture of our tree’s shadow on the blinds and didn’t know my flash was on. The house was eerily dark and it created a huge Mimi shadow in front of her. She whipped around quickly because it scared her so badly and this picture is the result!

We peeked out the window and saw that the lighting in the front yard looked COMPLETELY different from the lighting in the backyard so we all went out front during the time of maximum coverage.

The sun filtering through the tree leaves showed the same shape we saw on our pinhole note card viewers. It created a fascinating pattern on our steps and garage.





We watched the rest of the eclipse from the front yard, and then went to the backyard to play for a little bit as it got brighter again.

My biggest fail of the day came from attempting to take pictures at different phases of the eclipse. The camera on my phone adjusted to make it look as perfect as possible so I basically just have several pictures of the girls with roughly the same lighting! Oh well, in five thousand years or whenever the next solar eclipse is, I’ll use my DSLR.





Another unexpected effect of the solar eclipse was longer shadows than we’re used to in the backyard. Adi became very aware of all the shadows around her and danced around on my head for a while.

Another unexpected effect of the solar eclipse was longer shadows than we’re used to in the backyard. Adi became very aware of all the shadows around her and danced around on my head for a while.

How much of the eclipse were you able to see from where you lived?

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