The Total Eclipse

Nashville will soon be in the path of something this part of the country hasn’t witnessed in decades. The Great American Solar Eclipse will envelop the city on Monday, Aug. 21, and will last for approximately two minutes. The entire city is excited to experience this event and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) is in a special position to share this moment with our students as they see a phenomenon like this for the first time.

This is not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; this is a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity for students of all ages.  

Even though students will not be in school on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, Metro Schools is still in a unique position to educate students on the incredible nature of this event, the science and history surrounding a solar eclipse, and the ways in which one can safely view the solar eclipse.

Safety Viewing the Solar Eclipse

Safety is our top concern, and MNPS will continue to provide eclipse viewing glasses*, safe viewing instructions, and supplemental educational resources for our 88,000 students in the school days leading up to the eclipse. Protective eyewear will arrive in all schools Wednesday, Aug. 16, and will be distributed to every student by Friday, Aug. 18.

*Glasses distributed by MNPS do meet the ISO standards for safely viewing the eclipse. All glasses have the printed ISO 12312-2 international safety standard on them, indicating they meet or exceed required standards for eye safety.

The key to an enjoyable eclipse experience is safety.  Follow these steps when you’re observing the solar eclipse.

Before the Eclipse:

  1. Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (totality), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen in Nashville at approximately 1:27 p.m.
  2. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun because they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight. MNPS will distribute compliant glasses to all students.
  3. Always inspect your solar filter/glasses before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.

During the Partial Eclipse and Total Eclipse:

  1. Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your glasses — you should never remove glasses while looking at the sun. (If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on and place the eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.)
  2. Do not look at the partially eclipsed sun using: an unfiltered camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device or magnified device to look at the eclipsed sun.
  3. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
  4. Only remove your eclipse glasses filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face (this is called totality) and it suddenly gets quite dark. In Nashville, totality will last for almost two minutes. This is the only time it is safe to remove your eclipse glasses.
  5. As soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your eclipse glasses to look at the remaining partial phases. The partial eclipse will end in Nashville at approximately 3 p.m. Eclipse glasses must always be worn during the partial eclipse phases.

This graphic shows you when to wear your solar eclipse glasses and/or filters and when to remove them:

(credit: nasa.gov)

(credit: nasa.gov)

Learning About the Solar Eclipse in the Classroom

Even though students will not be in school on Monday, Aug. 21, our teachers are still in a unique position to educate students on the incredible nature of this event, the science and history surrounding a solar eclipse, and the ways in which one can safely view the solar eclipse.  

Teachers and educators will review all safety viewing protocols with all students and will have other instructional resources to use to educate students about a solar eclipse. Here is some information about eclipse safety for teachers.

Resources for Students & Families

Families can also tap into these resources to learn more about this natural phenomenon: