Solar Eclipse

On Monday April 8th many people throughout North America joined together to witness a spectacular natural phenomenon, a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse isn’t necessarily a rarity, with at least partial solar eclipses happening every 18 months or so around the globe. Though this time was a special occasion. With visibility of the eclipse possible in all of the contiguous USA as well as a large section of total eclipse, millions gathered to view a once in a lifetime show.

solar eclipse

(April 8th, 2024 San Diego)

In San Diego we were close enough to the eclipses direct path to witness 65% totality, basically cutting the sun in half. While it doesn’t darken the skies completely it still gives a breathtaking sight of some key features that make up our solar system.


But how does it work? The sun is much bigger (400 times) than the moon, how could the moon possibly block the sun? The answer is a game of numbers, and some coincidental alignments.


Our sun sits roughly 93 million miles away from Earth, while the moon is about 240 thousand miles away. At those distances, from our perspective, the sun and the moon are the same size in the sky. This allows the moon to completely cover the sun, causing day to turn to night in an instant.

solar eclipse science

If we shrink the moon down to the size of a ping pong ball, and shrunk the sun down relative to that, the sun would be the size of a basketball. With these or similar items on hand you can practice with your child to experiment. Holding the smaller ball up in front of your eyes at arm length, slowly walk the larger ball back, trying your best to keep it the same level as the smaller ball. Walk back until the larger ball is completely out of sight and is eclipsed by the smaller ball.

Our kinder-prep classes were able to learn and  discuss this wonderful property of our solar system. Working on interactive demonstrations of the eclipse process, creating their own eclipse models, and even getting to view our partial eclipse together with specially designed glasses.

solar eclipse toys with preschoolers
solar eclipse masks on preschooler

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