Are you a science educator looking to engage the public with events for the partial eclipse coming up in October? This is your stop! Ken Brandt of the Robeson Planetarium is providing key information for engaging your visitors with safe and accurate eclipse information.

Saturday, October 14th rolls around, and you’re expecting several hundred people to attend the event you’ve been planning now for months. Are you ready? Following some of the guidance here might help! Many of you are planning events, and are much more savvy about this than I.  If you are attending the NC Science Trail Virtual Education Event on September 13, we want to hear from those of you who are experts at astronomy event preparation so we can all benefit from your knowledge. Please come prepared to share your “hidden event gems” with many curious minds.

Since mine is a smaller institution, my preparations are obviously not on the same scale of complexity as some of you. For me here in Robeson County, my preparations are mostly aimed at school-aged children and their families. The most important thing to me is training teachers who will then train their students to safely view the eclipse. The FREE Canvas course I’ve created for PSRC’s Science Teachers can be taken by anyone, as the course will be deployed on the canvas commons. It’s called “Safe Solar Eclipse Preparation for Teachers” and will be searchable through their database as of September 1st, 2023.

In order to achieve mastery of the course, there are 6 quizzes, each at the end of the relevant module. Topics in the course include Phases and Eclipses, How the Eclipse will Unfold, Safety with Eclipse Glasses, Safety Using Indirect Solar Viewing Methods, Eclipses Across the Curriculum, and Eclipse Resources. The course features an introductory video which had special guest Bill McArthur, Robeson County Astronaut, speak about eclipses from space!

In my district, each teacher who masters the course earns 1 Continuing Education Unit in content. If you’re not in Robeson County, NC, please contact your district to inquire about continuing education credits for this course.

Of course I too will be running a small event myself here in Lumberton on October 14th. If you’re in the area, please join! If you’re looking to host your own event, no matter the size, the key will be to have other activities that attendees can spend time on, since the eclipse will be what I call an “ok, I saw it, now what?” type of event, especially for kids. So having a selection of activities available on site will keep your attendee’s interests piqued. You may also want to partner up with your local library, to see if they’re already hosting an event that day.  The information page for libraries to join the eclipse network SEAL is located here:

Participating libraries get free eclipse glasses, and access to a nationwide network of eclipse experts. 

No matter what your plans are for October 14th, remember that eclipses are a great way to engage your audiences with the wonder of the universe, and our unique vantage point. 


Ken Brandt directs the Robeson Planetarium and Science Center in Lumberton, NC.  He is a volunteer in NASA’s Solar System Ambassador Program. He is also a member of the 3rd cohort of NC Space Grant Ambassadors, and an Ambassador for the Mars Society.