Solar Eclipse 2024

  • A drawing explaining how a solar eclipse happens when the moon blocks the sun's rays making it to Earth.

    Students and staff across the Ann Arbor Public Schools will be able to safely view the Solar Eclipse next week on April 8, thanks to a donation of glasses from the Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union (MSGCU).


    Thanks to the MSGCU donation of 20,000 eclipse glasses, students and staff will get the opportunity to look directly at the eclipse, which would not be possible without risking eye damage without the glasses. The district has created lesson plans for elementary school teachers, including special materials for those in grades that don’t typically include units on space. All middle and high schools will provide safety information and grade-level appropriate, brief information about eclipses during advisory or another designated class period.


    The MSGCU recently opened a branch office in Ann Arbor on Stadium Boulevard, south of Liberty, and is excited to help the AAPS community participate in this historic event. “As an organization founded by educators 70 years ago, MSGCU is proud to provide Ann Arbor Public Schools with eclipse glasses to bring a unique and engaging learning experience to students,” said Steve Brewer, MSGCU President/CEO. “MSGCU is excited to help students and teachers safely observe the solar eclipse through our donation.” 


    Ann Arbor narrowly misses the total solar eclipse that is taking place on Monday, April 8th, but will experience a 98.4 percent complete eclipse, with the maximum magnitude at 3:13 PM. Locally the eclipse begins at 1:57 PM and ends at 4:26 PM.


    AAPS will be hoping for clear skies next Monday because, as elementary math and science curriculum coordinator Tony Stamm shared, it’s going to be a while before Ann Arbor has another solar eclipse of this magnitude. “We won’t see this event again here until 2099,” Stamm said. “To actually be able to step outside and witness something like this during the day together, that’s really rare. I don’t think there’s anything comparable that really accounts for the magnitude of the event, as well as the accessibility.”


    District Science Department Chair for Grades 6-12 Amy Deller-Antieau said 8th-grade science classes have studied stories about how several cultures over long periods of time have observed, understood and shared stories about the stars and sky, including events like eclipses. “They explored how these cultures have contributed valuable information to our study of the skies in terms of understanding the patterns of our Earth, Moon, Sun and other stars over very long periods of time,” Deller-Antieu said. “These observations help astronomers and other scientists to understand the ways in which these patterns have been stable or changing over time, even before we had advanced technology to sense and track these patterns. They also come to understand that early civilizations' observations of the moon and sun tie directly to the fundamental aspects of our life today, including agricultural practices, our monthly calendar system and more.”


    AAPS Eclipse 2024 FAQ

    April 8, 2024


    Q: When will the eclipse occur in Ann Arbor?

    The eclipse will occur approximately between 2-4:30 PM on April 8, 2024 with the fullest viewable portion around 3:13 PM


    Q: Will schools provide eclipse glasses?

    Yes, all AAPS schools are receiving certified eclipse glasses for staff and students. This donation is thanks to the Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union. The classrooms will be distributing the glasses on the morning of the eclipse and encouraging students to use take them at the end of the school day and use them at dismissal.


    The AAPS curriculum instruction team developed educational materials for classrooms. Many will be implementing these lessons in the days leading up to the eclipse and on April 8.


    Q: Is it safe to view the eclipse through a window?

    If a window provides a view of the eclipse, it's safe as long as solar viewing glasses are worn when looking directly at the sun. Generally, windows do not block harmful light from the sun.


    Q: Are there special instructions about closing shades during the eclipse?

    The sunlight during an eclipse is like the sunlight any other day, except there is a reason and temptation to look directly at the sun. Shades can stay up like any day, but everyone needs to be reminded not to look directly at the sun without their solar viewing glasses whether they are inside or outside.


    Q: Can we look directly at the sun during the maximum part of the eclipse? 

    If we were in a place experiencing the full eclipse, there is a brief moment when you can look at the sun. However, here in Ann Arbor, we will not see a full eclipse (98.5% eclipsed). Even though a lot of the sunlight will be blocked at the maximum eclipse point for us, there will be some sunlight that is not blocked and we should only view the eclipse (all parts of it) while wearing our solar viewing glasses. The remaining 1.5% of sunlight is still very bright.


    Q: What can I expect during the eclipse?

    The surroundings will become noticeably dimmer, colors will appear flat and shadows will be sharper than usual. You may observe changes in nature, with animals, birds and insects displaying evening behavior. The temperature may drop 10 degrees or so. You may be able to spot Venus in the daytime sky a bit west of the sun. However, don't spoil the inquiry for students, let them predict, then observe and share any changes they might notice.



    Here is an article from Ed Week that includes quotes from AAPS



    Additional Eclipse Safety Considerations 

    from AAPS School Nurses and School Safety


    Monday, April 8, 2024, presents an exciting opportunity to witness the upcoming solar eclipse. The eclipse will occur near the end of the day, between 1:55 pm and around 4:30 pm. This wonderful experience comes with the risk of permanent eye problems if viewing the sun directly without proper solar glasses that are well fitting.


    Please know that you have the option to pick your student up early before the eclipse if you feel your child will not be able to follow these important instructions to best ensure their eye safety during the timeframe above. Keep in mind that this includes their dismissal home by bus, walking, or car when they will not have school staff supervision.


    AAPS staff will do all we can to ensure student safety but we cannot guarantee that we can manage all student’s ability to keep their eclipse glasses securely over their eyes. Teachers are practicing eclipse safety with students and will not take students outside who cannot keep their glasses securely over their eyes.


    We appreciate you having a discussion with your student(s) about these safety reminders to help reinforce what they are hearing in class.


    Tips for Viewing the Solar Eclipse Safely:

    1. Do not look directly into/at the eclipse without the protective eyewear provided by the school district, or filters that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard. When wearing certified eclipse glasses all light and images will be blocked, except for a faint image of the sun. Any type of sunglasses not will not protect your eyes.
    2. Closely watch young children.
    3. Do not use eclipse glasses if they are damaged or scratched.
    4. Put your solar eclipse glasses on before looking at the sun.
    5. The eclipse glasses should completely cover your eyes and fit securely so that no light gets through.
    6. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, keep them on while using these filters. The solar eclipse glasses are to be worn on top of your normal glasses or contact lenses. 
    7. It is not safe for you to remove the eclipse glasses at any point while looking at the eclipse.
    8. It is not safe to film the eclipse while looking through a camera, such as a regular camera or a cell phone camera. 


    Alternative Viewing Considerations NASA’S Live Stream

    2024 Total Solar Eclipse: Through the Eyes of NASA (Official Broadcast)



    How to Safely View a Solar Eclipse - American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (February 26, 2024).

    But First, Shades! How Kids Can View the Solar Eclipse Safely (March 7, 2024).

    How can I safely watch a solar eclipse with my children? - (March 18, 2024).