NASA is ready to party.
On Aug. 21, 2017, for the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will cross the entire continental United States—and NASA just released a long list of things you can do to prepare for the big day.
The actual eclipse won’t take that long: At the point of max totality in Carbondale, Illinois, the moon will block the sun for a full 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Elsewhere, it’s about 2 minutes of celestial fun.
To make the most of this day party (the sun has to be out for the eclipse to happen—it starts around 9 a.m. on the Oregon coast and finishes up before 3 p.m. near Charleston, South Carolina), start with picking a location. NASA suggests one of its official viewing sites, or “local community centers, museums, observatories, parks or open fields.”
If you can’t make it IRL, get online. Many livestreams, online discussions (#Eclipse2017 is the hashtag to use), simulations, online videos, and animations will be there to entertain and educate you. The official NASA megacast comes out of Carbondale, where a 4.5-hour livestream will start at 11:45 a.m. ET. This is the best way to track the entire eclipse from start to finish.
For more low-tech party tips, NASA suggests poster contests, edible eclipse models, and using “triangles and proportions to create a shoebox eclipse simulator.” You know, normal party activities.
One party recommendation can’t be stressed enough: watching the eclipse with proper safety gear.