Celebrate the solar eclipse with events from August 16 to 21

Did you know? A solar eclipse is coming on August 21, and we’ll have a pretty good view right here in DeKalb. To celebrate this rare and exciting occasion, NIU STEAM Works is partnering with the DeKalb Public Library to host a series of community events from August 16 to 21. All events are free and open to the public.

At the events you’ll receive free solar viewing glasses (as long as supplies last), as well as a flier with viewing tips and safety information to help you prepare for the solar eclipse.

On August 21 – as long as the skies are clear – community members of all ages are invited to view the solar eclipse from noon to 2:30 p.m. in the fountain courtyard east of Davis Hall on the NIU Campus. Eclipse glasses, solar binoculars and solar telescopes will be available to allow for safe viewing of the eclipse, which will peak at about 1:18 p.m. Parking will be available for $5 in the Visitors Lot off of Carroll Ave.

In the case of overcast skies, we encourage community members to view NASA’s live stream of the eclipse online.

Pati Sievert, director of NIU STEM Outreach, says: “It’s not very often in a person’s lifetime that they get to see a solar eclipse. Even though we don’t have totality here in DeKalb, the sun will be almost 90 percent covered, so it will still be a spectacular event to see.”

Leading up to the eclipse, the DeKalb Public Library will host hands-on STEAM Works activities to help children, teens and adults understand and appreciate the science of the solar eclipse:

August 16, 6 pm – Celestial Treasure Hunt for ages 13-19, DeKalb Public Library Teen Room: Teams of teens will solve scientific mysteries related to the eclipse to unlock a treasure box and claim their treasure.

August 17, 11 am – noon – Fun with the Sun for ages 2-7 at the DeKalb Public Library: Children and families will hear sun-inspired stories and create solar art.

August 17, noon – 1 pm – Sun Art for ages 8-12 at the DeKalb Public Library: Youth will use the energy of the sun to create their own Cyanotype, a blue sun print.

August 17, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Nature of Light – an interactive demonstration program for all ages at the DeKalb Public Library: Community members of all ages will be invited to join in, right from their seats, as we explore the nature of light.

These programs for all ages are part of NIU STEM Outreach’s mission to increase science, technology, engineering, and mathematics literacy and enthusiasm. Says Sievert, “Anytime we can expose kids to some of this really cool science, it gives us the chance to inspire them to investigate more on their own.”

Adults will have a final chance to appreciate the solar eclipse at a STEM Café, “The Mystique of the Solar Eclipse,” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on August 21 at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway in Aurora. Richard Cooler, Professor Emeritus of Art History and Southeast Asian Studies, and archeological anthropologist Christopher Davis will share mythology of the solar eclipse from many cultures. The event is free and open to the public. Food will be available for purchase from Two Brothers Roundhouse.

For more information, contact Pati Sievert at psievert@niu.edu.

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