Michigan State University main website

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2024

March 18 @ 7:00 pm EDT

A total eclipse

Are you ready for the Great Total Solar Eclipse of 2024?  I hope so, because there won’t be another total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States until 2044.  That’s 20 years!  TOTALITY is amazing—you don’t want to miss this chance.  When will it happen, and where is the best place to see it?  What will we be able to see in Michigan?  Furthermore, looking beyond this particular event—do you know what causes an eclipse?  Is it related to the phase of the Moon, or to the Moon’s orbit, or to the Earth’s orbit?  Ancient astronomers knew, and not only that, they could actually predict eclipses in advance.  How could they do that, without computers, telescopes, or any modern equipment?  Also–why are some eclipses total, while others are only partial, and still others are annular (a “ring of fire” eclipse)?  Do eclipses follow our calendar?  Are they all the same length?  Why are they so rare?  Is there a pattern to any of this?  Join me and the MSU-St. Andrews STEM Center by Zoom to learn more!

Adults and families with school-age and older children are invited to join us virtually at MSU-Midland for a presentation on solar eclipses, with a special focus on the one coming up next month.  We will summarize how ancient astronomers came to understand some of the basics of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, and we will also describe how you yourself can make some of the same observations—no telescope needed—that proved these concepts.  We will then help you see how these discoveries apply to eclipses.  Along the way, you will learn a lot about just how strange and wonderful the Moon’s behavior really is.  Then, we will describe the exhilarating experience of TOTALITY!  See the blazing solar corona!  Experience the darkness, with a 360o sunset!  Feel the temperature nosedive!  Hear crickets start chirping!  And so much more.  Finally, we will give you some tips on where and how you can watch the eclipse for yourself, whether you travel to see TOTALITY (do it!) or choose to watch a partial eclipse from Michigan.

Speaking of sky-watching from Michigan, we will also talk about the beautiful nighttime skies of March and early April.  Did you know that six of the seven brightest stars visible in northern skies shine in March evenings?  Can you recognize the sparkling Winter Hexagon, which has seven of the brightest twelve stars, all in one small part of the sky?  Plus, identifying the stars in the Winter Hexagon enables you to find a dozen different constellations.  Have you been watching mighty Jupiter slowly moving towards the west in the evening sky, or brilliant Venus sinking deep into the sunrise in the morning sky?  Did you know that Venus is enroute to a very close conjunction with Saturn this month?  Also, right now is the best time to see Mercury in the evenings for the rest of this year!  We will show you how to find all these things (and more) for yourself.

Presentation (virtual only) on Monday, March 18, 7:00 PM.

Register now to receive the Zoom login. You may register at anytime including after the start of the presentation.


Time allowed for live Q & A throughout the event. ASL Interpretation featured during the event.


March 18
7:00 pm EDT
Event Tags: