Solar Eclipse Event: NHSTA teams with the McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center

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On Monday, August 21, 2017, there will be a solar eclipse making its way across America. While New Hampshire is not in the path of totality, it is close enough so that fully 62% of the Sun will be eclipsed by the Moon, creating a dramatic view of this celestial phenomenon. The New Hampshire Science Teachers Association has joined with the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center to celebrate the eclipse with a full day of rain or shine activities, including a gathering outside the Center in the afternoon to watch the eclipse.

NHSTA is helping organize and facilitate activities and presentations that will be featured at the Granite State’s premier eclipse event, which will be open to the public. It will be an opportunity for folks of all ages to not only learn about what the solar eclipse is and why it is occurring, but to learn a great deal about the Sun: its characteristics, its electromagnetic radiation, and its impact on and relationship to our planet.

Highlights and Information
Visitors will be able to make their own solar and eclipse-themed crafts to take home, including a pinhole viewer for safely observing the partial eclipse. Telescopes with solar filters will be available for use, with the assistance of Discovery Center staff. Coverage of the total eclipse as seen from multiple locations, from NASA, will be streamed live. In addition to the museum’s regular exhibits, the observatory will be open for tours. Interactive demonstrations will include spectroscopy and the Herschel Infrared Experiment. And, we’ll have a few shows in the Planetarium – including a special edition of “Tonight’s Sky.” 

You won’t want to miss these special guests:

  • Meteorologist Kevin Skarupa of WMUR-TV Channel 9 will give a talk on the nature and impacts of the Sun, and will also report live from the Discovery Center during the midday newscast.
  • Dr. Art Hammon of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will discuss many aspects of solar science, including how understanding our own Sun has led to knowing about what goes on in the interior of stars.
  • Tom Padham, a weather observer and education specialist at the Mt. Washington Observatory, will give us a virtual tour of the Observatory, and share how the partial eclipse is being seen and celebrated on the Northeast’s highest peak.

The event will run from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. Locally, the partial solar eclipse will begin at approximately 1:25 p.m. Maximum partial eclipse is reached at 2:43 p.m.

Admission to the Discovery Center is $10 for adults, $9 for students and seniors, $7 for children 3 – 12 years old and free for members and children 2 years and under. Planetarium shows are an additional $5. Eclipse glasses are available in the Discovery Center Science Store for $3 each.

Teacher CEUs and Participation
This event will also serve as a professional development and leadership opportunity for teachers. Part of NHSTA’s mission is to promote science as a vehicle of lifelong learning for all citizens. By participating in the eclipse event, NHSTA supports scientific literacy and the appreciation of scientific applications that affect our everyday lives. Meanwhile, teachers and specialists in science-related fields will be able to obtain information about membership, upcoming workshops, and annual conferences. Educators who attend will be able to obtain a certificate for 5.5 hours (CEUs) of professional development. Please have your school ID with you in order to obtain a certificate.

Teacher volunteers are needed to help run demonstrations and crafts for visitors, as well as answer general questions. If you can commit to a minimum of three hours during the event in this capacity, the Discovery Center will provide complimentary admission for you and your immediate family members. You will also receive a certificate for three hours of professional development time. (Note: This is instead of paying and receiving a 5.5 hour certificate.)

If you would like to offer your help and bring your family to the eclipse event for free: Please email Andrew DiGiovanni at digiphysics@gmail.comInclude the names of your immediate family members (spouse and children only). Indicate the level of activity that you would be able to lead (basic or advanced).

An arrival by 10:30 am at the Discovery Center on Monday, August 21 is requested of teacher volunteers. 

Please email by Wednesday, August 16.  Your confirmation will come in an email reply.

Thank you, and we look forward to you joining us in celebrating the eclipse!

Learn more about the eclipse from NASA at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html. Or from Great American Eclipse.com at https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/

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