If you’re a science educator and you’re looking to engage with the public for the April 8th eclipse event, you have found the right location! Ken Brandt of the Robeson Planetarium is providing key information for engaging your visitors with safe and accurate eclipse information.

Need CEU information for online eclipse teacher education? We have that too! Keep reading.

Monday, April 8th 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 me.  If you have additional experience with eclipse event preparation that you would like to share, please reach out to the North Carolina Science Trail so they can get the word out, and we can all share what we’re doing to teach great eclipse education.

Since mine is a smaller institution, my preparations are obviously not on the same scale of complexity as for 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 Canvas course I’ve created for Robeson County Public School science teachers can be taken by anyone, as the course will be deployed on the canvas commons by February 29, 2024. It’s called “Safe Solar Eclipse Preparation for Teachers” and will be searchable through their database. Both Robeson County and Wake County Public School Teachers can currently receive CEU credit for this online course. If you are in another county and would like to receive credit, please let us know.

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!

No matter what size event, the key for whomever is running a planetarium event will be to have other activities that attendees can do, 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 interest 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:

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

No matter what your plans are for April 8th, 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.