Memphis Astronomical Society





Staying Memphis for the Eclipse?

Here is what you need to know:

The only way to experience a Total Eclipse is to go to the path of totality. But if you aren't able to go to the path, you can experience a great "Partial Eclipse" right here in Memphis.

The Partial Eclipse will begin at 11:53 am

Maximum obscuration will occur at 1:21 pm

The Partial Eclipse will end at 2:50 pm

factsheet here

Unlike the dramatic and short duration of Totality, the partial eclipse will last about 3 hours. During this time the moon will move imperceptibly slow across the face of the Sun.  At no time will it be safe to look at the Sun without some kind of protection, such as solar filter glasses.
You will notice a change in the Sun’s brightness. Even if there are no clouds in the sky, the lighting will appear as though it’s overcast.  Shadows will become sharp edged as the Sun becomes more like a “point source” of light.  The light shining through tree leaves and limbs will appear as jumbled crescent shapes on the ground.  The temperature will likely drop a few degrees.  Animals may begin their evening activities such as birds roosting.  These are all opportunities for teaching and learning, but mostly paying attention.

Mostly because of the increases in communications and social media, this can be as big an event for the youth of America today as the moon landing was for an older (my) generation.

But it's not a once in a lifetime opportunity. Another change will happen on April 8th, 2024. And the distance to the path of totality will be even closer as the path is northeast to southwest through Arkansas. (See here for details) So if nothing else, consider this a practice run!

The simplest way to view the eclipse is with Solar Filter Glasses. The next simple way is a "Pinhole Projector". Put a 3/16" hole in a piece of cardboard or anything opaque and hold it 3' - 4' above the ground and see the crescent shaped sun on the ground.

Plan to observe the partial eclipse at least several times over the three hours. See if you can tell when the moon is starting to move in front of the sun at 11:53 am. See what it looks like at 1:21 pm and then watch leave that final edge at 2:50 pm.

Some ideas for science activities during the eclipse:

Measure and record the air temperature before and during the eclpse

Measure and record the changes in brightness of the suns light

Test Einstein's Theory of General Relativity (or not)

Learn about the eclipse so you can answer their questions:

When was the last Solar Eclipse in the U.S.?

Answer - 1979

Will everyone in the U.S. see at least a partial eclipse?

Answer - Yes

Which way is the moons shadow moving?

Answer - West to East - The Eclipse starts in Oregon and end in South Carolina.

Wow! Next time, I'm going to Totality! When is the next Eclipse?

Answer - April 8, 2024 (just remember, to a 7 year old, that's a life time away)

Other Eclipse Resources

These are not lists of other lists which is what you get a lot of if you just search for Eclipse

Eclipse History - NASA

The Great American Eclipse

Eclipse Education Links - NASA

Astronomy Magazine's Eclipse Information

(Mostly Michael Bakich List's of stuff to know, very nice)

Eclipse Megamovie 2017 Project

Sky and Telescope (search "eclipse")

Live Video During the Eclipse - NASA

Desktop and Web based Eclipse Simulation Software

Desktop Download

Nasa Eyes Web Version


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