Approximately 150 adults and children alike gathered at American Science and Surplus with the Milwaukee Area Science Advocates (MASA) to glimpse the Great American Eclipse of 2017 on August 21st. The excitement in the air was palpable, as kids eagerly asked questions about why they needed special glasses, what light spectrum is visible through the glasses, and even whether the eclipse might be viewable from other planets (it wasn’t). Adults were curious too, and asked when they could do it all again. The answer to that is sooner than you might think-the next total solar eclipse visible in the United States is in 2024! The path of totality is of course slightly different than that of the most recent eclipse, and Milwaukee will again only see a partial solar eclipse-but it’s never too early to start planning a trip to the path of totality! Carbondale, Illinois, is one of few lucky locations to see both total solar eclipses in totality.

MASA volunteers passed out special MASA-made glasses so everyone watching could safely enjoy the eclipse. Others brought their own homemade eclipse-viewing devices, made out of every variety of cardboard box. Even though the weather was uncooperatively cloudy, viewers were still able to peep the partial eclipse here in Milwaukee, where we had about 80% totality. In addition to looking through MASA-made or homemade glasses, viewers were able to glimpse the eclipse through telescopes provided by American Science and Surplus. Reporters from WTMJ Channel 4 news were also broadcasting the event on site-check out what they had to say about the event here!

When people weren’t gazing up at the sky, they were milling about, sharing in the excitement of a rare astronomical event. American Science and Surplus made a sunny banner on which attendees were asked to sign or print their names. In 2024, they’ll bring that banner back out and see who comes back to the same location to view their second solar eclipse! If that seems too long to wait, get excited about the total lunar eclipse that we’ll be able to see in Milwaukee on January 31st, 2018. We’ll be there, will you?

Written by Lisa Taxier for the Milwaukee Area Science Advocates

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