Observer News

Tips for Events with GLOBE Eclipse

A collage of three photographs taken during an eclipse event. In the first, a child looks at a table that includes a cloud chart and information about GLOBE Eclipse. In the center image, a NASA staff member hands a woman a cloud activity. In the last, a woman uses a phone to photograph the sky during the eclipse.

Are you planning an eclipse event on or before 8 April? GLOBE has a number of resources that can be useful as a display or interactive activity. These tips are gathered from the 2023 annular eclipse. If you have other ideas to share, please contact us, and we can add them to this page.

Displays or Presentations

GLOBE has provided a number of resources that work well for a tabletop or wall display. The printables for tabletop signs and the atmosphere one-pager both contain a QR code that will bring people to the GLOBE Observer app page. This feature was extremely popular during 2023 events. The GLOBE Eclipse toolkit includes the following and additional resources that you may find useful. All resources are available in Spanish on the toolkit page.

A tabletop display showing the GLOBE Eclipse atmosphere one-pager and GLOBE tabletop signs, a thermometer, solar viewing glasses, and a Sun and Earth cut out.
The GLOBE Eclipse atmosphere one-pager and table-top signs in both English and Spanish are displayed during an eclipse event. The display also includes a thermometer, solar viewing glasses, and Sun and Moon cutouts used to explain an eclipse.

If you are giving a presentation or training a group how to do the GLOBE Eclipse protocol, we recommend our short video overview of the Eclipse protocol. For longer events, you are welcome to use or adapt the GLOBE Eclipse presentation, available as a pdf, Power Point, or Google Slides deck. NASA also provides eclipse training slides with additional eclipse science and safety information.


A tabletop display includes a colander and toys that have holes that cast shadows in the shape of the eclipse. The table also includes signs about GLOBE eclipse and clouds. Text on the signs is not legible. A woman is looking at the table while people in the background are watching the eclipse through solar viewing glasses.
A tabletop display used during the October 2023 annular eclipse included several objects that could be used interactively for indirect viewing of eclipse shadows, thermometers, and a temperature chart

Provide Safe Ways to View the Eclipse

It is never safe to look directly at the Sun without solar viewing glasses.If possible, provide solar viewing glasses or a filtered telescope so your guests can experience the eclipse. If you are in the path of totality, you should advise people to remove the glasses during totality when the Moon completely blocks the Sun.

Indirect viewing methods provide another way to see the eclipse. Any item with a small hole, like the GLOBE Eclipse Pinhole Postcard or even your interwoven fingers, will project an image of the eclipse. Stand with your back to the Sun and look at the shadow cast through the hole. It is helpful to have a smooth, solid-colored surface such as white posterboard to see the shadow clearly. If you provide objects (colanders, steam baskets or cooking implements with holes, beach toys, an index card and a hole punch, etc.) for indirect viewing, please demonstrate how to safely view the eclipse with them. During the 2023 eclipse, some guests thought that they could look at the Sun through the hole in the postcard instead of looking at the shadow on the ground.

Left, a person holds the GLOBE Eclipse card, which has a hole in the center. The person’s shadow and the card’s shadow are shown. The hole in the card shows the Sun’s crescent shape.  Right, a photo of the shadow of a colander shows crescent-shaped holes during an eclipse.
Demonstrate how to safely view an eclipse indirectly by standing with your back to the Sun and looking at the shape of shadows cast through anything with well-spaced holes such as the GLOBE Eclipse card, left, or a colander, right. 


Display a few thermometers to track temperature

A photo showing three different digital thermometers and two alcohol thermometers on a table. During the eclipse, include a variety of thermometers at a table so people can see the temperature. Any air temperature with an accuracy of +/- 0.5 degrees Celsius will work for the GLOBE Eclipse protocol. A thermometer with a digital display is the simplest to use during an event, and you can even find audio thermometers to accommodate low-vision guests. If you are using a digital thermometer, be prepared with extra batteries.

 Be aware that the Bluetooth signal from the probe on a digital thermometer with a separate display may be tough to receive if you are in a large crowd. Facilitators reported interference even when the probe was close to the display unit during the 2023 eclipse. A simple alcohol thermometer works well as a backup.

Finally, people find infrared surface temperature thermometers extremely engaging, but these thermometers can’t be used for the GLOBE Observer Eclipse protocol, since they aren’t measuring air temperature. They may still be part of a facilitated activity during the eclipse. Many infrared thermometers use a laser pointer to help the user know what they are measuring. This poses a potential safety hazard. Make sure the laser isn’t pointed at anyone’s eyes. Turn off the laser or carefully monitor the thermometer’s use.

This activity works even if it is cloudy on the day of the eclipse or if you are not in totality.

Create a Temperature Chart

On the day of the eclipse, create a poster charting temperature every 10 minutes. You can ask volunteers to plot the temperature point, but be prepared for uneven interpretation of where the point should go. If you want a consistent curve, the facilitator should add the points.A poster with a line graph of temperature vs time. There are three lines on the graph, two for the days before the eclipse, and one for the day of the eclipse. The graph shows a drop in temperature during the eclipse with the lowest temperature reached just after maximum eclipse.

A chart showing temperatures in the days before and the day of the October 2023 annular eclipse. Temperature measurements stop at 10 am in this case because the event venue closed at that time, but ideally, all three days would cover the same time period. On the day of the eclipse, continue temperature observations for an hour after the eclipse if possible.

This activity is extremely engaging because it allows groups to see the temperature change real time during the eclipse. Most people won’t have a thermometer on them unless they are prepared ahead of time, but they notice the change and will want to return to see how much the temperature fell.  This activity works even if it is cloudy on the day of the eclipse or if you are not in totality.

Demonstrate Convective Cloud Formation with Cloud in a Bottle

The cloud in a bottle demonstration (video at link) is extremely engaging for adults and children of all ages. This demonstration can be used at events before the eclipse, during the eclipse, or after the eclipse to explain how convective clouds form and why they might change during an eclipse.

 A woman holds a 2-liter bottle that is full of a cloud-like translucent white gas. A crowd of children and adults are looking at the bottle with expressions of surprise and amazement.
Adults and children are engaged by the cloud in a bottle demonstration.


To do the demonstration, pour a small amount of isopropyl alcohol into a plastic 1-2 liter bottle. Seal the bottle with a fizz keeper or cork with a ball pump inflation needle inserted through it. Shake the bottle to distribute the alcohol on the sides of the bottle, then add pressure to the bottle with the fizz keeper or a small pump via the inflation needle (you can ask a guest to help with this step). Ask guests to tell you when they can’t squeeze the bottle any more. Then, count down and release the seal. The release of air will make a loud pop (warn parents) and a cloud will instantly form.

 As you pump air into the bottle, explain that the pressure is heating the air in the bottle, letting the liquid evaporate into a gas. Similarly, the Sun heats our atmosphere and Earth’s surface, evaporating water. When you release the pressure, the air expands quickly and cools. The gas in the air condenses into tiny droplets, which you see as a cloud in the bottle. In our atmosphere, water vapor cools rapidly as it rises, and the water condenses into droplets that gather on particles to form puffy clouds (convective clouds). When the Sun’s energy is no longer fueling this process (convection) during an eclipse, these clouds will flatten out or disappear.

The National Informal Education STEM Education Network provides how-to videos of the cloud in a bottle demonstration as well as a nice explanation of how clouds form. 

Do the GLOBE Eclipse Protocol

A photo showing a phone with the GLOBE Observer Eclipse tool open. Beneath the phone is a paper chart used to record temperature during the eclipse. Use the GLOBE Observer app to track changes in temperature and clouds during the eclipse. If you are doing the protocol with a group, create a team of volunteers with different jobs (cloud monitor, temperature monitor, data recorder, etc.). It is challenging to moderate a group, track temperature, and notice cloud changes during the eclipse. The eclipse itself is exciting, and you will have too many other things to track to manage everything on your own.

If doing GLOBE Eclipse with a group, a paper chart for recording temperature may be simpler than trying to enter the data into the app in real time. If you follow this data collection method, contact us to submit your data. Photo courtesy Pablo Cecchi.


Provide a Solar Eclipse Journal Handout

Hand out the solar eclipse journal to allow guests to record their solar eclipse experience. Encourage them to pay attention to animals, sounds, and shadows as well as to the weather. You may want to provide pencils.

General tips

Pause during totality to enjoy the eclipse. It is an awe-inspiring experience, and neither you nor your guests will want to do anything else during the maximum. The temperature will likely reach its lowest just after totality, so you won’t miss the low point if you take a break from monitoring the temperature during totality.

Stay late after the eclipse ends. Traffic after a large event is challenging. Providing opportunities for people to do something after the eclipse can help improve traffic flow since not everyone is leaving at the same time.

More importantly, people want to come back and share their experience with someone. They want to see how much the temperature changed, share what they noticed, and ask questions about what they experienced. Deep learning can occur during post-event reflection with a facilitator.

A child’s drawing of the eclipse shows the eclipsed Sun, a child wearing solar viewing glasses and a happy heart surrounded by fireworks.
Provide ways for people to reflect on their eclipse experience, even if it’s as simple as offering paper for journaling or space for conversation. In this image, a child included a happy heart and fireworks to reflect her emotions experiencing the annular eclipse. 

Enjoy the eclipse, and if you use our resources, we’d love to hear how your event went! Contact us via our web form for help or to share feedback after your event.


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