Watching the Eclipse in Chicago with Kids

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Watching the Eclipse in Chicago with Kids 

The countdown is on for this month's big scientific phenomenon, one that hasn't been seen in the continental United States in 40 years and won't be seen again for decades.  The total eclipse of the sun will be August 21st and will be seen in varying degrees throughout the US.  

A total eclipse happens quite rarely.  It takes places when a sun's rays are totally blocked out by the moon in its orbital cycle around the earth.  This will be a cool experience, one you can share with your kids.  In Chicago, the moon will start to block the sun at 11:54. The Chicagoland area will have an 80% eclipse view.  

Here are some tips on how to make the most of this unique occurrence:  

Eclipse 101:  Explain to your kids what an eclipse is.  A good primer for parents is this Q&A with astrophysicist and teacher Jeffrey Bennett:   

Never look directly at the sun during a total eclipse. This can cause serious eye damage 

Consider buying special eclipse glasses.  This proper protection will allow you to look directly into the sun.  Do not use ordinary sunglasses or a homemade filter.  They are not enough to protect your eyes.  

Use a projection technique such as shining sunlight through pinholes onto a paper in the ground.  For more information on this method check out this video.  

The weather near you will impact how much you see.  Here's hoping for minimal clouds to optimize your eclipse viewing experience with your family.  

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