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Eclipse Ambassadors Off the Path

Frequently Asked Questions

Participation Questions

Please see the Participation Benefits and Requirements on the Application Page for a general overview. 

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. 

Do I qualify as an amateur astronomer? (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 an amateur astronomer. If you’re not sure, send us an email:

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. 


Workshop Questions

When will the workshops occur?

  • All workshops will occur online. The Pilot Workshop will take place October 17 - November 4. Ongoing workshops will begin on a bimonthly basis in 2023. Once partnerships are made, partners will be able to choose a date to attend a workshop. 

Do partners have to attend the same workshop?

  • Partners need to attend the same cohort. There will be 2 options of attendance times over the same 3-week period and partners may elect to attend different times, but need to be in the same cohort. 

How do I find an amateur astronomer partner? 

  • Many amateur astronomers are members of their local astronomy club. To find an astronomy club near you check out: 
  1. Night Sky Network club finder 
  2. Sky & Telescope Magazine astronomy clubs and organizations
  3. Astronomy Magazine club finder
  4. Astronomical League astronomy clubs and societies
  5. 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 would certainly be a good place to start, though undergraduate participants are not required to be taking astronomy. 
  • 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
  • Email local astronomy professors! 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 consider using our template (coming soon). 
  • Contact friends and family members who have college students. They can invite their friends to participate as well. 
  • Talk to coworkers, church 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 template (coming soon)! 

What is a simultaneous workshop/cohort?

  • Eclipse Ambassador workshops will take place during a 3-week period with weekly live sessions as well as tasks to complete between sessions on your own time, in some cases together with your partner. The live sessions will  be offered at two different days and times during the week to accommodate various schedules. All Eclipse Ambassadors participating in the 3-week period will be considered a cohort. 

Are the workshop sessions recorded? Can I watch those instead of attending the live sessions?

  • These sessions will be highly interactive, so best experienced live. All participants are required to attend the live sessions as part of their commitment in order to be certified as Eclipse Ambassadors.  We will be recording the sessions and we encourage participants to rewatch the recordings after attending the live session as a refresher.  Please be sure you can commit to attending all three live sessions. If something unexpected comes up that forces you to miss a session, please notify us in advance and we will consider excused absences on a case-by-case basis.

If I miss my regularly scheduled workshop can I attend the other one that week?

  • In general, yes.

How many Eclipse Ambassador Candidates will participate in each workshop?

  • Workshops can accommodate up to 75 Eclipse Ambassador Candidates, so each cohort will have up to 150 Eclipse Ambassadors between the two simultaneous workshops.


Program Questions

How many Eclipse Ambassadors are there?

  • At the end of the project we will have trained 1000 Eclipse Ambassadors which includes 500 Amateur Astronomers and 500 undergraduate students!

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 4 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. 


Event Questions

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 Ambassadors 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? 

  • This will vary depending on your community, but in general, we define underserved pertaining to the field of astronomy and STEM, as racially, ethnically, geographically, linguistically, sexually, and economically diverse audiences. This project is committed to engaging underserved audiences with eclipse outreach. We encourage Eclipse Ambassadors to reach into schools/programs/opportunities that are not currently served by NASA Partner programs.

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.