Frequently Asked Questions
Please see the Participation Benefits and Requirements on the Application Page for a general overview.
When does the application close?
- We will be accepting applications until we have made at least 500 partnerships across the country. Right now, the opportunity is wide open. As we get closer to our goal, we will be recruiting from areas that do not have partners. The sooner you apply, the better your chance of being accepted into the program.
Do partners need to be in the same geographic area?
- Yes, they will need to engage the same community, so at least be near enough to plan together and deliver outreach at the same place.
Do I have to be an Astronomy major to become an undergraduate Eclipse Ambassador?
- No! We encourage any undergraduate student with an interest in eclipses and sharing science with the public to apply. Community college students, education majors, and any interested undergraduate attending a college or university in the US is encouraged to apply!
Do I qualify as an Eclipse Enthusiast? (I’m an instructor, planetarian, science enthusiast…)
- Astronomy enthusiasts who have interest in working with an undergraduate student, know about eclipses, and have some experience in communicating about astronomy with the general public are invited to apply as the eclipse enthusiast/amateur astronomer half of the partnership. This includes instructors, planetarians, museum educators, and general science enthusiasts. If you’re not sure, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I find an eclipse enthusiast/amateur astronomer partner?
Many amateur astronomers are members of their local astronomy club. To find an astronomy club near you, check out:
- Night Sky Network club finder
- Sky & Telescope Magazine astronomy clubs and organizations
- Astronomy Magazine club finder
- Astronomical League astronomy clubs and societies
- Go-Astronomy club search
How do I find a local undergraduate student partner?
There are a variety of ways to connect with undergraduate students who are interested in being Eclipse Ambassadors. Check out some ideas below and remember we are looking for students in a variety of majors! Start with an undergraduate that is known by a member of your club or approach faculty or staff at a local college or university:
- A local astronomy professor or instructor is a good place to start, though undergraduate participants are not required to be taking astronomy. Many teach astronomy in various departments such as physics, geology, earth science, natural science or physical science. You can find their email address on the school website and the template above will get you started.
- Long-time members of your club, especially those who have been on the club program committee looking for monthly speakers, would be a great resource to identify local instructors of astronomy or astronomy department
- Contact friends and family members who have college students. They can invite their friends to participate as well.
- Talk to coworkers, faith group members, mentorship programs, or volunteer organizations you are a part of about the opportunity.
- Write a post on your social media, listservs, charity board or form of communication that can spread the word to multiple people. Consider using our Social Media Toolkit above!
Can we have more than 2 people in our partnership?
- We love your enthusiasm, but can only support 2 people per partnership right now. Additional interested people are encouraged to apply to be partnered - as long as you serve different areas. We are trying to cover a large area of the country.
I'm on the path of Totality - can I still participate?
- Eclipse Ambassadors off the Paths is designed to engage communities off the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse. If you would like to engage with nearby underserved communities outside the path, it often won't be very far away. You could invite them to join you on April 8, 2024 and that would qualify you to participate in the program. But you'll need to commit to reaching 200 people off the path.
What is involved in the background check for Eclipse Ambassadors?
- All Eclipse Ambassadors will be scanned by a Been Verified check of their public information, as well as the National Sex Offender Registry. In addition, the project team will contact references. Fingerprints are not required.
When will the training occur?
- All training will occur online and they are happening now - ongoing through 2023 and possibly beyond. Once partnerships are made, partners can proceed with the self-paced, online training.
Do partners have to attend the same live sessions?
- Partners are encouraged to attend the live sessions at the same time, but we understand that isn't always possible.
What is a self-paced training?
- Eclipse Ambassador workshops are designed to allow participants to complete tasks in sequence, at times they find convenient over the course of 1-2 months. Initial activities with your partner leads to a series of online modules, and two 1.5-hour live sessions. The live sessions are offered frequently and at a variety of times to accommodate various schedules. We will regularly announce upcoming live sessions with plenty of advance notice so that you can plan accordingly, and if you’re unavailable for one, you can join a later session that works better for your schedule.
Are the workshop sessions recorded? Can I watch those instead of attending the live sessions?
- All participants are required to attend the live sessions as part of their commitment in order to be certified as Eclipse Ambassadors. If one of the two live sessions is missed, you can participate in the next one. We will record the sessions and we encourage participants to rewatch the recordings after attending the live session as a refresher.
How many Eclipse Ambassador Candidates will participate in each workshop?
- Workshop live sessions are interactive, and can typically accommodate up to 40 Eclipse Ambassador candidates. If one is full, you can sign up for the next one.
How many Eclipse Ambassadors are there?
- At the end of the project we will have trained 1000 Eclipse Ambassadors which includes 500 eclipse enthusiasts and 500 undergraduate students! You can find the current Map of Ambassadors here.
How long will I be an Eclipse Ambassador?
- The Eclipse Ambassadorship will be in effect until June 30, 2024, though we hope that participants never stop sharing their interest in astronomy with the public. All reports must be completed by this date.
What is the opportunity to travel to the path of annularity or totality?
- For each eclipse, up to 6 participants will be chosen to join the Exploratorium on the central paths of the eclipses. This includes a travel stipend plus room and board on the path and a viewing party for the event. Participants should be comfortable offering outreach at the event leading up to the eclipse with the possibility of appearing on camera for the live stream. More information will be available and advertised to registered Eclipse Ambassadors by May 2023.
- Ambassadors selected for the trip to the annular eclipse in Ely, NV are Giovanni and Kendra from CA and Jeremy and Andrea from NJ.
What further opportunities are there for Eclipse Ambassadors to engage with NASA?
- We're so glad you asked! Ambassadors are encouraged and given chances to partner with many NASA programs like Eclipse Soundscapes, GLOBE Observer, and more.
- As part of the Heliophysics Big Year, in partnership with the Aurorasaurus project, undergraduate eclipse ambassadors can apply for a week-long Heliophysics Winter Field School in Fairbanks, Alaska in January 2025. Applications will open in the summer of 2024 for this limited opportunity; travel expense and a stipend will be paid. Priority will be given to those with interest in space physics graduate school, first-gen grad students, & those with limited prior exposure to space physics, are strongly encouraged to apply.
What are all the stages of the program? Here's the full overview: Three Stages of Eclipse Ambassador Program
- Acceptance into the program
- Partner with someone in your area (Partnership Packet)
- Register on the Learn@ASP portal
- Complete the partnership tasks
- Attend Live Session 1 (of 2): Building Your Partnership (Receive Toolkit Materials)
- Module 1: Moon Observations & Lunar Phases
- Module 2: Eclipse Science & Safe Solar Viewing
- Module 3: Inclusive Public Engagement
- Module 4: Event Planning
- Attend the Live Session 2 (of 2): Planning Your Eclipse Events
- Submit your Event Plan Assignment (Receive Official Badge)
3. Public Engagement
- Plan event(s)
- Reach 200 people
- Report on your public engagement (Student partners receive stipend)
Does our event have to take place on the day of the eclipse?
- No. We encourage you to prepare your community before the eclipses. The goal of your event is to prepare people to have a great experience on the day of the eclipse, so having the event in the days and weeks leading up to the actual day is beneficial. However, if you are not traveling to the center path of the eclipse you might consider sharing your expertise with your community on eclipse day.
What do you mean half of our audiences need to be underserved communities?
- Eclipse Ambassador partnerships commit to reaching out to at least 200 people with eclipse engagement. At least half of those people (100) need to be from communities traditionally and currently underserved in astronomy and STEM.
How do you define underserved communities?
- The definition of underserved will vary depending on your community, but in general, we mean groups traditionally or currently excluded from astronomy and STEM because of their race, ethnicity, immigration status, geographic location, language, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, neurotype, ability, religion, etc.
What if we don’t have a solar telescope?
- Viewing a solar eclipse does not require a solar telescope. If you have access to one, great! It will provide a more detailed view of the solar surface and rim. A set of eclipse glasses and pinhole viewers will allow many people to experience a solar eclipse at the same time, and these are items that Eclipse Ambassadors will receive in their materials toolkits. Even items like the top of a sugar shaker or a colander will create solar images on the ground below. A nearby tree will also create myriad pinhole images from sunlight streaming between gaps in the leaves.
Have a questions not answered here or on our Application Page?
Send us an email: email@example.com