Library will teach kids to safely look at sun during solar eclipse

In order to prepare kids from 8 to 12 years old for the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, the Mullica Hill library will host Tween Library Lab: The Sun on Wednesday, March 20.

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The free event aims to teach kids how to safely look at the sun during the eclipse and why the event is special, namely that it is expected by NASA to be visible from the U.S., Mexico and Canada. It will also be a total solar eclipse – when the moon appears to block the sun completely – and the last one until 2045, according to Forbes.

The library is partnering with the New Jersey State Library and StarNet to acquire kits for viewing the eclipse.

“The kits include a sun scope, suns potter, filtered binoculars and more,” said Teen Librarian Crysta Miller. “The plan for the Tween Library Lab program is to use these tools to safely look at the sun and learn about it.”

“The GCLS (Gloucester County Library System) is hoping for a clear day for the best viewing results but will still do other activities about the sun and the eclipse if the weather doesn’t cooperate,” she added.

On top of making scopes, kids will learn about eclipse phases using Oreos. The icing of a cookie will represent the sun and the dark portion will represent the area blocking the sun. An Oreo without icing, for instance, would represent a total solar eclipse.

Attendees will also use a colander to make eclipse shadows with flashlights and illustrate a solar corona, the uppermost portion of the sun’s atmosphere.

The Tween Library Lab is a new monthly program whose past topics have included activities such as dissecting owl pellets to rebuild a prey’s skeleton and experiments based on around natural disasters. An upcoming lab on Tuesday, April 23, will have kids learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.

“For March, the GCLS chose the topic of the Sun because of the solar eclipse coming in the beginning of April,” Miller noted. “The GCLS is very excited about the eclipse and have partnered with the New Jersey State Library and StarNet to acquire kits with various tools to view the sun.”

The event is rain or shine and does not require a library card, but it does require parents to pre-register their children on the GCLS website by providing name, email and phone number.

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