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Are You Ready for the April 8 Solar Eclipse?

Guest blog post by Dr. Jeffrey Bennett, astrophysicist and author

More than 30 million people live directly within the path of totality for the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse, many more live within a short drive of it, and the rest of the mainland United States (and Canada/Mexico) will experience a partial solar eclipse. You don’t want to miss this awe-inspiring spectacle of nature, especially if you live in or can travel to the path of totality.

To help you prepare, astrophysicist/author Dr. Jeffrey Bennett — whose company, Big Kid Science, is a member of the Children’s Book Council — has created some great resources for you.

First and foremost, be sure to download the FREE app “Totality by Big Kid Science,” [iOS / Andriod] created and funded personally by Dr. Bennett, and subsequently donated to the American Astronomical Society. With new Version 4 just released this week, features of this app include:

  • Interactive maps that show what you’ll see at any location in the Americas for the upcoming April 8 eclipse — as well as a top menu bar that allows you to explore other recent and upcoming total solar eclipses around the world. All maps are based on code by renowned eclipse expert Xavier Jubier. 
  • Using your phone’s GPS, the app tells you not only what you can see at your current location, but also shows the nearest location where you can witness annularity or totality and, where possible, provides driving directions to the eclipse’s central line. 
  • Zoom, scroll, and tap to move around the map, get a table of eclipse circumstances at any location, and bring up additional details. 
  • Use the Main Menu (upper left corner) to access the Learn screen, where Dr. Bennett has provided a wealth of information about eclipses, including safe viewing instructions, videos on eclipse science, and activities for families and classrooms. There’s also a Shop screen where you can purchase eclipse glasses and books, and donate to support nonprofits focused on science education.
  • And it’s all free — with no ads and no data collected — created as a public service by Big Kid Science and sponsored by the American Astronomical Society. Learn more at bigkidscience.com/eclipse or eclipse.aas.org/totality.

Second, Dr. Bennett has also posted a free guide: Eclipse Q&A.

And, third, don’t miss Dr. Bennett’s book Totality — An Eclipse Guide in Rhyme and Science, winner of numerous awards and a selection for Story Time From Space, through which it was read aloud by astronaut Steve Bowen aboard the International Space Station; videos of astronaut Steve’s readings and demonstrations are at storytimefromspace.com/eclipse. You can also find a video of the author reading.

About Dr. Bennett

Astrophysicist/author Jeffrey Bennett (Ph.D., astrophysics, U. Colorado-Boulder) has devoted his career to math and science education. His extensive educational experience includes teaching at every level from preschool through graduate school, proposing and helping to develop the Voyage Scale Model Solar System on the National Mall in Washington, DC, creating the first broad-based curriculum for courses in quantitative reasoning, serving two years as a Visiting Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters, and creating the free Totality app for learning about solar eclipses. He is also the lead author of best-selling college textbooks in four subjects (astronomy, astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics); of critically acclaimed books for educators and the public on topics including Einstein’s theory of relativity, the search for extraterrestrial life, global warming, and math and science teaching; and of 7 award-winning science books for children. Other awards include the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award, the American Association of Physics Teachers Klopsteg Memorial Education Award, and the selection of all seven of his children’s books for the Story Time From Space program, in which astronauts read books from the International Space Station. For more details, please see his personal website, jeffreybennett.com, or his primary outreach website, bigkidscience.com.

About Big Kid Science

Big Kid Science, founded by Dr. Jeffrey Bennett, publishes books featuring a unique combination of literature and science. These books are designed to work simultaneously on three levels: education, perspective, and inspiration. The education piece comes through the sophisticated, factual content found in the books. The perspective piece involves the way the books teach children (and parents and teachers) to see themselves and our planet in a new light. The inspiration piece comes in encouraging children to dream of how they can help make the world a better place. Big Kid Science books have won numerous awards and accolades, including being the first books chosen to be read from orbit by astronauts aboard the International Space Station as part of the Story Time From Space program.

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