MWOBS’ Education Team Launches Virtual Programs for the 2024 Solar Eclipse

By Alex Branton

We are just 9 weeks away from the Great American Eclipse of 2024, and the Mount Washington Observatory is preparing for the event by offering new education programs. This year on Monday, April 8th, all of North America will have the opportunity to view at least a partial solar eclipse. The path of total solar eclipse will pass over northern New England, while the rest of the region will experience at least a 90% obscuration of the sun by the moon. While most of the attention is directed toward celestial bodies and cosmic phenomena before and after the event, Earth’s atmosphere is the ultimate dictator of eclipse visibility. Are you an educator looking for an opportunity for your students to learn about weather and climate and how that might affect eclipse visibility in your area? Are you a lifelong learner looking for information on where and how to best view the eclipse and the science behind the event? MWOBS’ meteorologists are excited to share their knowledge as it relates to this rare event with individuals across the United States through virtual programming. The Mount Washington Observatory offers two types of virtual programming; Distance Learning, targeted towards K-12 students, and the Science in the Mountains Virtual Lecture Series, targeted toward lifelong learners.

Path of totality.

With our distance learning programs, students have the opportunity to learn about weather and climate directly from the people who study it every day. Weather observers living and working at the Observatory’s legendary summit weather station will share their first-hand knowledge and experience in an exciting, interactive format. Close that textbook and enter the alpine zone! Distance Learning programs that are currently on offer include Life and Work at the Mount Washington Observatory, Extreme Weather Observations, Fundamentals of Weather, Climate and Climate Change, and Understanding Weather and Climate to View the 2024 Eclipse. Each program is designed to fit Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for grades 4-12 and is adapted to fit your class schedule. A live virtual presentation with MWOBS scientists, activities, and worksheets are included with each program.

The Understanding Weather and Climate to View the 2024 Eclipse program features a comprehensive journey through the history and science of solar eclipses, as well as insights into the much-anticipated 2024 eclipse. Experience the excitement firsthand as a weather observer joins your class live from the summit of Mount Washington. Delve into the specifics of the 2024 eclipse, from its timing to the critical path of totality. This engaging session will be a one stop shop for everything your class will need to safely view the eclipse. The program wraps up with essential information on weather and climate factors and their influences on eclipse viewing. Gain valuable insights and access the best forecast resources to ensure a safe and unforgettable experience for you and your students. MWOBS’ meteorologists will also give a walkthrough on how to access and interpret local weather forecasts and climate information. This portion of the program is customized for each classroom’s specific location. A worksheet is included and is meant to be completed within the two days leading up to the eclipse. This worksheet will serve as a guide for students to interpret their local forecast and to make a conclusion about if they will have good weather conditions for eclipse viewing. For more information and to request a Distance Learning program, visit our Distance Learning page here.

Science in the Mountains is a year-round, virtual lecture program for adult learners. This free series is hosted virtually by Mount Washington Observatory using Zoom, and streams live on the Observatory’s Facebook Page. Recordings of each program are available the day after they air on MWOBS’ YouTube channel and on our website. As part of this series, we will be holding a “Forecasting the 2024 Total Eclipse” lecture on Thursday, April 4th at 7pm EST. Join astronomer Shawn Laastch from the University of Maine and Weather Observer/Education Specialist Francis Tarasiewicz from Mount Washington Observatory to learn about the science of eclipses, how to safely view them, and crucially, what the weather forecast will likely be in your planned viewing location. Come with questions and help share in the excitement of this unforgettable event: This is a unique opportunity to hear from experts in the field of astronomy and meteorology just 5 days before the eclipse. Although the lecture will be visible through Facebook Live, those interested are encouraged to register through zoom so that they may ask questions and interact with presenters in real time (viewers through Facebook Live may ask questions during the program, but they will not be answered until after the program’s conclusion). Click here for more information, or type the following address into a search browser: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KZPvKL9lSsy2Xu6v3whZcg#/registration.

Science in the Mountains.

Join the Mount Washington Observatory as we get ready for the Great American Eclipse of 2024! This will be the only total solar eclipse in the northeast United States until 2079, so take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn about and to experience this rare event. If you are an educator looking for an opportunity for your students to learn about weather and climate and how these may affect eclipse visibility, visit our website to request a distance learning program. If you are a lifelong learner looking for information on where and how to best view the eclipse and the science behind the event, visit our website to register for the Science in the Mountains virtual lecture series. Stay up to date with Mount Washington Observatory news for even more eclipse-related programs and events being offered in the Mount Washington Valley. We hope that you that you include the Mount Washington Observatory in your preparation for the 2024 solar eclipse!

Stay tuned on other Eclipse events through our Events page.

Distance Learning and Science in the Mountains programs are made possible by generous funding from Northway Bank.

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