Grant Supports Eclipse Programs

Sci-Tech is pleased to receive support from the Simons Foundation as part of its “In the Path of Totality” initiative. These funds will allow our museum to expand programming in support of the Total Solar Eclipse, occurring in Watertown on Monday, April 8, 2024. Watertown is particularly well-placed to view this eclipse, being almost directly on the centerline of the eclipse path, and thus will experience more than three and a half minutes of totality that midafternoon.

The major focus of Sci-Tech activities is to prepare our community for this truly once in a lifetime event, including the astronomical science of a Solar Eclipse and, most importantly, how to view it safely.

Toward this end, the grant is allowing Sci-Tech to prepare 2 new interactive exhibits: one explaining the physics behind an eclipse (why an eclipse occurs). while the other focuses on solar science, and will include real-time images of our sun, and visible sunspots.

Other activities will be children’s/family hands-on workshops about getting ready for the eclipse, and an adult/highschool lecture exploring cultural aspects of prior eclipses. Each will also highlight safe viewing methods, whether one will attend one of the mass viewing events, or watch from one’s backyard.

Sci-Tech is also partnering with the Watertown Daily Times for a children’s eclipse art contest, with prizes to be awarded for students in 4 age groups: High School, Middle School, Upper Elementary, and Lower Elementary grades.

As an eclipse is a visual event, Sci-Tech will be holding a variety of outdoor astronomy nights in Watertown’s Thompson Park: A Moon (as well as other telescopic objects) viewing prior to the eclipse will be held on March 23; and a post-eclipse telescopic astronomy night on April 20, where the art contest winners will be announced. And, of course, Sci-Tech will have telescopes set up in Thompson Park for the actual April 8th eclipse, as part of Watertown’s “Total Eclipse of the Park” viewing event.

At all of our activities prior to the eclipse, as well as at the April 8th event, Sci-Tech will be distributing thousands of safe solar viewing glasses.

All of Sci-Tech’s eclipse activities, including the eclipse viewing glass give-a-ways, are totally free to the public.

This work is supported by the Simons Foundation and is part of its “In the Path of Totality” initiative.

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