Questions for ‘Getting ready for the solar eclipse’

In a solar eclipse, the moon blots out most of the sun.

Takeshi Kuboki/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

To accompany feature “Getting ready for the solar eclipse”


Before Reading:

1.  Draw a map of the solar system. Include at the very least the sun, the planets and Earth’s moon.

2.  How long does it take for the Earth to circle the sun? How long does it take for the moon to circle the Earth? What happens when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth?

During Reading:

1.  What major celestial event will take place on August 21, 2017?

2.  What is a solar eclipse? How often does one happen?

3.  What is the sun’s corona?

4.  What will Paul Bryans be doing on August 21?

5.  What is the advantage of studying an eclipse from an airplane?

6.  How fast will the moon’s shadow race across the United States?

7.  Where will people be able to experience the longest period of darkness during the eclipse?

8.  What are plasma loops?

9.  Why are scientists planning to launch weather balloons during the eclipse?

After Reading:

1.  Using the map provided in the article, figure out how far you are from the path of the eclipse. Could you travel there in a day? Would you? If not, explore the NASA 2017 eclipse website and find out how else you might experience the eclipse.

2.  Read the accompanying story on how to safely view the eclipse. Discuss with your teacher and classmates how best the view the phenomenon.


1.  Measure the distance between any two of the five state capitals mentioned in this article. On August 21, the moon’s shadow will travel at some 2,700 kilometers (1,700 miles) per hour between those capitals. In minutes and seconds, how long will it take for the moon’s shadow to travel between the two cities that you chose? Show your work.