DPS Prepares for Solar Eclipse Fun

Aug. 1, 2017



More than 20,000 solar eclipse glasses are in teachers’ hands as they prepare for the first day of school for most DPS schools on Monday, Aug. 21 — which also happens to be the first chance in nearly 40 years to see an eclipse of this kind in Denver.

Jeffrey Bennett, an astronomy professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, donated 20,000 solar eclipse glasses to DPS this week from Big Kid Science, and The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which runs U.S. operations at the International Space Station. Schools and parents have also been joining the back-to-school fun by purchasing more pairs of the popular eclipse glasses, and educators are busy figuring out lesson plans to celebrate the big event.

Safe learning opportunities for our students

Many DPS teachers are planning to incorporate the solar eclipse into their science lessons across the city’s 200 schools. These lessons may include a variety of hands-on learning and outdoor experiences, like how to create pinhole boxes and pinhole periscopes.

Important notes about the solar eclipse

Professor Bennett has sent DPS some important solar eclipse notes to share with students and families. Please read these notes to learn about the best time to view the solar eclipse, and how to do it safely.

  • Will I be able to see the sun on Monday?
    On Monday, Denver will have a 92% partial solar eclipse, meaning that the moon will cover 92% of the sun at maximum.
  • When can I view the solar eclipse?
    The eclipse begins with “first contact” (when the moon first touches the sun) at about 10:23 a.m. local time, reaches maximum at about 11:47 a.m. and ends with last contact at 1:14 p.m.
  • How can I get even more information about the solar eclipse?
    NASA has put together more information, including safety tips, here. You can get more exact times and further details — as well as information about the eclipse, suggested classroom activities and more — from the Totality app. The app is totally free, and can be found by searching the Apple app store for “Totality by Big Kid Science.”
  • When is the best time to view the solar eclipse?
    The most exciting time to watch the eclipse is from first contact to maximum, since you can actually watch the moon making its way across the face of the sun. In Denver, that between first contact (e.g., about 10:15 a.m.) until shortly after maximum (e.g., noon).
  • What happens if the weather is bad?
    Assuming the weather cooperates, the only thing you need for eclipse watching is your eclipse glasses and a line-of-sight to the sun. In other words, choose a place where no buildings or trees block your view. Anything more (e.g., telescope with solar filter) is optional.
  • How do I know if my solar eclipse glasses are safe to use?
    Be sure that you follow the safety precautions as noted on the glasses and on the “Safe Viewing” screen of the Totality app. Because Denver does not have a total eclipse, you must wear your eclipse glasses at all times when looking at the sun. Be sure to supervise younger children, and make sure the glasses fit in a way that does not let any direct sunlight to reach their eyes.

More back-to-school resources for the 2017-18 school year 

Since Aug. 1, we have been sharing out #Back2SchoolTools on Twitter and Facebook to actively remind you of available resources that will help you kick-start a successful school year. If you haven’t been following our social channels, check out all our #Back2SchoolTools in one convenient place at

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