Astronomy, Merit Badges, Participation Badges

Astronomy Opp: Blackout!

You can watch online here: is the big total eclipse! Be sure not to incinerate your retinas — either wear non-counterfeit glasses or watch online!

This counts as an astronomy event whether you watch online or fur real. But watching is not enough for the badge: you must also leave a comment below with three eclipse factoids.

Have fun!

(The astronomy Merit Badge program is kinda complicated. There are several levels. Each level consists of 5 event badges. You get points for each event, and every five events get you a merit badge with a bunch of bonus points. The number of points awarded for each event and merit badge increases with each level.)


1st event: stargazer1

2nd event: stargazer2

3rd event: stargazer3

4th event: stargazer4

5th event: stargazer5

REDEMPTION CODE for full-fledged merit badge after observing 5 events: starstruck

6th event: stargazer6

7th event: stargazer7

8th event: stargazer8

9th event: stargazer9

10th event: stargazer10

Expert Astronomer Merit Badge: expertastronomer

11th event: stargazer11

12th event: stargazer12

13th event: stargazer13

14th event: stargazer14

15th event: stargazer15

Galileo Expert Astronomer Merit Badge: galileo


If you watched the eclipse (on- or off-line), AND you dropped by Cat Scouts on 8/21 to talk about it, you not only get your stargazing badge, but you also get a bonus merit badge! ONLY AVAILABLE IF YOU WERE HERE ON 8/21!!!!!


Comments 19

  1. Profile photo of Fleetwood Cat
    Fleetwood Cat

    We saw the 100% eclipse! It was exciting. The clouds parted just long enough to see!
    We saw the diamond ring, which occurs when the moon starts to leave the sun and creates a bright spot. Another fact is the eclipse does not last long, a little over 2 minutes. Also, you should not look directly at the sun or you can hurt your eyes, almost everybody knows that fact. Bonus fact- traffic after the eclipse viewing caused some words from the bad word list in our car! (Not by me though)

  2. Profile photo of einstein

    Whee what a fun time we had with Dad viewing the Eclipse. It was AMAZING even though we only saw it for 10 min due to clouds. What luck! They parted right after totality so we could see the whole thing. So fun. Doubly so to be with Dad. Thanks Obi for our official glasses. Timmy also thanked you but we had comments disappear so are hurrying. My facts are.
    1. The Total Eclipse will not be around furever. No worries if you want to go to where the next one is as we will see them for our lifetimes and our kits lifetimes for way into the future. They will not be gone until about 600 million years from now. I sure hope there are still Cat Scouts then.
    2. This was a once in a lifetime event. Eclipses happen about every 3 years but the last one where you could see totality from the West to East Coasts of the USA happened June 8 1918. That was 99 years ago. Me-Wow.
    3. This was the first total eclipse in the USA in 38 years. The last one was Feb 26, 1979 and the next one will be in April 8 2024. Dad says he will be retired then and may drive to see it. Hope he takes me and Timmy
    Purrs Scouts

  3. Profile photo of Timmy Tomcat
    Timmy Tomcat

    My comment dissapeared so I am going to the short version. We saw the eclipse at 80% of totality. This was about 10 min after we had totality at 244pm. The clouds were out in force but cleared so me, Einstein and Dad saw it for maybe 10 min. WOW it was cool. Here are my facts
    1. You cannot race the eclipse. It traveled across the US at 2400 mph. That is even faster than Dads sports car.
    2. If you were lucky enough to be where there was totality you may have seen dark wiggly lines right before totality. They are called Shadow Bands but people and wild cats call them Shadow snakes. Recently scientists have suggested that they are from atmospheric disturbances. I think they may be spirits!
    3. This will be the most widely documented eclipse. NASA is sending up 50 balloons to 100,000 feet to get data and there is a “first of its kind citizen project” to get info from people all across the eclipses path. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.
    Thanks for reading Scouts
    Timmy Tomcat, Sabertooth, OotA

  4. Profile photo of Sammy Kimmell
    Sammy Kimmell

    My Mom and Dad had special glasses and were pretty excited to see the eclipse. We had clouds moving in and out all morning and afternoon so SOME of the eclipse was obscured by the dark clouds we had. Mom and Dad did see the BEGINNING of the moon’s journey – a little slice of darkness in upper right quadrant of the moon – then again at about half way which was REALLY cool. During the 81% coverage time it was like twilight – or like it gets when we’re about to have a storm……it was VERY quiet and still but even then there were weird shadows around unlike normal shadows. I woke up after it was all over. Typical! Maybe I’ll still be around in 2024 for the next one!

    Here are my three factoids:
    1. During a total solar eclipse, some animals tend to act confused or prepare for sleep.
    2. A total solar eclipse causes a decrease in temperature of up to 20 degrees.
    3. In ancient times, people thought an eclipse was a sign that the gods were angry or that bad things were about to happen.

  5. Profile photo of Anya

    Thanks Aunt Gracie. Well the humans stayed out all the time for the eclipse and kept checking the time once things started to make sure they saw things at its peak. The time here was 2:10 or so and sure enough they saw 80% on the eclipse. The weather here cooperated. Rain was in the forecast but did not happen. We had a nice sky with few clouds. Grandpa came in just before the eclipse was over but the moms stayed out until the last little bit of the sun was back. I am also happy to say that on one got sunburned as they kept sun screening themselves all day. The moms did not come in until way late then they fixed supper for the family. What a great day.

  6. Profile photo of Gracie

    My sister, Anya’s mom, is spending the summer with us. Our stories will be similar as we spent the day together. I will start things our and she can finish things up. This morning we tried on our glasses to make sure we were ready. Those photos were posted at the campfire. We all watched the clock to make sure we were outside in time. The humans went outside and we watched from inside, behind out closed eyelids. Anyway the humans all put on their swimsuits and sunscreen and headed to the pool to watch the eclipse of the sun. They were there when things first started. They kept checking things out throughout the day. I will have Anya finish the story up now.

  7. Profile photo of Timmy Tomcat
    Timmy Tomcat

    We got to see the Eclipse a few minutes late and only fur ten minutes but it was sooo worth it. Wow!

  8. Profile photo of Ætheling

    My typist no longer remembers the exact Summer but it was sometime in the early 70s she believes.
    She and her brother were sitting in the backyard on sunny, cloudless summer afternoon. She was sewing and her brother was reading.
    Then they began to say to each other, “Isnt the sunlight getting dimmer? There are no clouds and the sky is blue. What happened to the sunlight?”
    After a few minutes , the boy next-door came outside with a little cardboard box, and asked them, “Are you guys watching the eclipse?”
    Mama and uncle said, “ohhhh, that’s what happened to the sunlight!”
    They had seen in the news that there was supposed to be an eclipse coming up, but neither of them knew when it was supposed to be, and hadn’t even been thinking about it.
    There was no 24/7 news in those days, so it wasn’t like they were being beaten over the head with the eclipse news like these days.

  9. Profile photo of Ætheling

    Here are my factoids:

    A Solar eclipse always occurs two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.

    Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon.

    Solar eclipses can only occur during a new moon.

    Eclipses very often occur in threes, alternating lunar, solar and lunar.

  10. Profile photo of Mauricio

    Cooper Murphy is an over-achiever, he thought we needed five factoids. here are my three.

    1. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years. The last one occurred February 26, 1979. Unfortunately, not many people saw it because it clipped just five states in the Northwest and the weather for the most part was bleak. Before that one, you have to go back to March 7, 1970. (That was my mom’s 21st birthday. It wasn’t visible where she was.)
    2. A solar eclipse is a lineup of the Sun, the Moon, and Earth. The Moon, directly between the Sun and Earth, casts a shadow on our planet. If you’re in the dark part of that shadow (the umbra), you’ll see a total eclipse. If you’re in the light part (the penumbra), you’ll see a partial eclipse.
    3. Solar eclipses occur between Saros cycles. Similar solar and lunar eclipses recur every 6,585.3 days (18 years, 11 days, 8 hours). Scientists call this length of time a Saros cycle. Two eclipses separated by one Saros cycle are similar. They occur at the same node, the Moon’s distance from Earth is nearly the same, and they happen at the same time of year.

  11. Profile photo of coopermurphyblue

    Here are my Factoids.

    When we were at our max (90.38 %) the crickets started chirping like crazy.

    1. Totality lasts a maximum of 2 minutes and 40.2 seconds. That’s it. That will occur slightly south of Carbondale, Illinois, in Giant City State Park.
    2. The end of the eclipse for the U.S. is not on land. The center line’s last contact with the U.S. occurs at the Atlantic Ocean’s edge just southeast of Key Bay, South Carolina.
    3. The Sun is a lot bigger than the moon. Our daytime star’s diameter is approximately 400 times larger than that of the Moon. It also lies roughly 400 times farther away. This means both disks appear to be the same size.
    4. Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. In fact, if you have clear skies on eclipse day, the Moon will cover at least 48 percent of the Sun’s surface. And that’s from the northern tip of Maine.
    5. A solar eclipse happens at New Moon. The Moon has to be between the Sun and Earth for a solar eclipse to occur. The only lunar phase when that happens is New Moon.

  12. Profile photo of OliverHughes

    My mom was able to step outside of her office and view the eclipse. We are expected to get 93% coverage where we live. We both thought it would get darker than it actually did, but the shadows were really neat. I will post a photo on the campfire site. My facts about eclipses are:
    1)Depending on the geometry of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, there can be between 2 and 5 solar eclipses each year.
    2)The speed of the Moon as it moves across the Sun is approximately 2,250 km (1,398 miles) per hour.
    3) There are three types of eclipses a) Partial, b) Annular, and c) Total

  13. Profile photo of Deztinee Izabella High
    Deztinee Izabella High

    We tried to watch it from here, but we only got ’bout a little less than 50% and we didn’t have any glasses. So we watched it on da catputer too. We’ll be better able to see da one in 2024 ifin we’re still here. MOL
    This total solar eclipse can only be seen by peeps in da USA.
    It’s not safe to look directly into da sun without special glasses, but you can view da total solar eclipse with da naked eye.
    Mysterious shadowy bands dat look like snakes can appear on da ground secinds befur and after the eclipse. Scientists can’t explain why or how.

  14. Profile photo of coopermurphyblue

    I’m getting excited. It should start here in about 30 minutes. This will be my first Stargazer Badge. We have our glasses, and we just have a few light clouds. We are supposed to be at 90.38 % here in Roanoke, VA. Both Mau ad I will post our facts after we watch!

  15. Profile photo of Denmaster

    Our weather is our typical August stuff: completely clouded over. Everyone here at World Headquarters has their pinhole viewers all ready…. for nothing….. 🙁 But we’ll only get about 75% totality anyway. so it’s not that big a deal.

  16. Profile photo of Chip

    Mom went to work with Dad today. He is often in Leitchfield, ky. there will be a 98.6% eclipse there. More than Louisville! Getting to the totality today is difficult! If you are on a highway, and want to see it, you have to get off the highway and all ramps! There are about 67 1/2 billion police just in Kentucky and Tennessee, waiting for that. And Mom drove home yesterday from Atlanta. Lots and lots and lots of traffic yesterday for the eclipse! So I will be, virtually, in Leitchfield for the event!! But here are my three factoids plus one bonus!

    1. Total eclipses are harbingers of bad things to come. Not true. Well it sort of is, bad things are always gonna happen. But the also can be considered harbingers of good things to come, because good things always come! Espeshully if a cat looks for them!! It all come down to if you are a dish half full or half empty kind of cat! I’m a half full kind of cat. I never, ever complain if I can see a speck of the bottom of my crunchy bowl showing through.

    2. Our pretty blue planet is in just an ideal place for us to be able to watch total solar Eclipssess. They happen because the Sun’s diameter is 400 times wider than the Moon’s, but it is also 400 times farther away. Wowie! We are so lucky!!

    3. Photic retinopathy. This is sumpthin you DON’T want to get!! It happens if you look right at the sun, without those Magic Eclipse Glasses! You could get it on any old sunny day if you just stare at the sun. But don’t do it! It will burn/damage your retina. That is inside your eye. Where a pitcure of what you are looking at get sent to your brain. The part of the retina that you really look at stuff is called the macula. There are more of those cone and rod thingies so that you can see lots of detail, like how many whiskers on a Mousie at a thousand feet away! If you macula gets burned out all you get is the purriferul vision. The stuff on the sides. Hard to read over there. Macular degeneration causes the same effect. Mom’s macular degeneration is still not very bad, so she got eclipse glasses.
    4. Did the old Pharaoh’s in anshunt Egypt look at solar eclipses? No. They hadn’t invented eclipse glasses yet. This is just a silly bonus factoid. MOL!

  17. Profile photo of Anya

    Eclipse here should start around one. Sure hope the rain stays away.
    Here are my factoids.

    1. Today’s eclipse will be visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States, passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. In other countries it will only be visible as a partial eclipse.

    2. Having a total solar eclipse move across entire the United States is quite rare. The last time it happened was in 1918.

    3. The path of today’s eclipse totality spans about 70 miles (113 kilometers) and will pass through 14 states.

  18. Profile photo of Gracie

    I am so excited about today. I am listing my three factoids now and will just wait until this afternoon to see the eclipse at my place.

    1. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years. The last one occurred February 26, 1979. Unfortunately, not many people saw it because it clipped just five states in the Northwest and the weather for the most part was bleak. Before that one, you have to go back to March 7, 1970.

    2. Maximum totality is not the longest possible in 2017. The longest possible duration of the total phase of a solar eclipse is 7 minutes and 32 seconds. Unfortunately, the next solar eclipse whose totality approaches 7 minutes won’t occur until June 13, 2132. Its 6 minutes and 55 seconds of totality will be the longest since the 7 minutes and 4 seconds of totality June 30, 1973.

    3. Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. In fact, if you have clear skies on eclipse day, the Moon will cover at least 48 percent of the Sun’s surface. And that’s from the northern tip of Maine.

  19. Profile photo of Gracie

    I have glasses for everyone they are over at the campfire.


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