As explained on the About Us page, the purpose of the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force is to help prepare citizens of, and visitors to, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to safely experience and enjoy the upcoming North American solar eclipses.
In order to ensure coordination with local, state, regional, and national eclipse planners across the continent, we are forming a number of working groups and inviting people interested in working with us to join one or more of them. Each working group is chaired by a task force member, has its own Slack channel, and will hold virtual meetings on a schedule agreed upon by its chair and members. Joining a working group doesn't commit you to any particular amount of work — put in as much, or as little, as you have time for. At the very least, you'll be connected to others with similar interests and responsibilities and will be able to hear others' ideas and offer your own via our ongoing conversations.
If you're involved in planning for the 2023 and/or 2024 solar eclipses, joining one or more of our working groups will help you align your efforts with the national one and with those of other communities like yours.
1. Eye Safety Working Group
- Chair: Rick Fienberg (American Astronomical Society)
- Purpose: To develop and distribute accurate information for the public on how to experience and record solar eclipses safely; to work with solar-filter manufacturers, resellers, and online marketplaces to ensure that the public has access to eclipse viewers that meet ISO safety standards; and to enlist the cooperation of the medical and eye-care communities in the dissemination of appropriate instructions for safe eclipse viewing.
2. Web & Social Media Working Group
- Chair: Michael Zeiler (GreatAmericanEclipse.com)
- Purpose: To leverage the power of the web and social media to raise awareness of the upcoming North American solar eclipses, to encourage travel into the path of annularity on October 14, 2023, and/or totality on April 8, 2024, to disseminate and promote appropriate and accurate eclipse and eye-safety information, and to actively counter inappropriate or misleading information.
3. Local Planning Working Group
- Co-Chairs: Laurie Radow (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, retired) & Bob Baer (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)
- Purpose: To work with local government officials; public safety, transportation, and emergency management professionals; convention and visitors bureaus; representatives of the hospitality industry; business leaders; and other stakeholders to prepare communities within the path of totality (April 2024) and/or annularity (October 2023) for an influx of visitors and a safe and enjoyable eclipse experience.
4. National Planning Working Group
- Chair: Kelly Korreck (NASA Headquarters)
- Purpose: To partner with federal agencies such as NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Park Service, the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Transportation, and the national observatories to ensure that appropriate and coordinated preparations are made for the upcoming North American solar eclipses at the national level.
5. Formal Education Working Group
- Co-Chairs: Laura Peticolas (Sonoma State University) & Dennis Schatz (Pacific Science Center)
- Purpose: To connect with K-12 teachers, school superintendents, college and university instructors, administrators, and educational associations to prepare teachers, students, and their families to safely experience and enjoy the upcoming North American solar eclipses and to use these events to advance "STEAM" (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) education and appreciation.
6. Informal Education & Public Engagement Working Group
- Co-Chairs: Tyler Nordgren (Space Art Travel Bureau) & Vivian White (Astronomical Society of the Pacific)
- Purpose: To connect with parks, libraries, museums and planetariums, youth programs such as Scouts and 4-H, service clubs such as Rotary and Lions, after-school programs, amateur astronomers and astronomy clubs, and other organizations and programs that inform, educate, and engage the public for the purpose of sharing eclipse-related information and activities with diverse audiences.
- This group is so large and multifaceted that it has been divided into several subgroups:
- Libraries (led by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz)
- Amateur Astronomers (led by Vivian White)
- Museums and Planetariums (led by Michelle Nichols)
- Parks (led by Tyler Nordgren)
7. Media Relations Working Group
- Chair: Pamela Gay (Planetary Science Institute)
- Purpose: To partner with science writers, editors, and producers; broadcast meteorologists; traffic and general-assignment reporters; and others in traditional and new media to promote awareness of the upcoming North American solar eclipses, to disseminate appropriate and accurate eye-safety information, and to counter inappropriate or misleading information being promoted online or elsewhere.