The 2017 Solar Eclipse

For the first time in nearly 4 decades a total solar eclipse will pass through the continental United States on August 21st. This one has been dubbed "The Great American Eclipse" as the path of totality will run across the U.S. And PASCO Wireless Sensors provide a low cost, high value way of measuring the effects of this historic event.

When is the Eclipse?

The solar eclipse will begin in the Pacific Ocean as the Sun rises and will actually rise while eclipsed. It will first touch U.S. soil a little north of Newport, Oregon at 17:15:50.6UT or a little after 10:15 a.m. local time. 

The approximately 70 mile wide swath will move across the U.S. in a little over 90 minutes, last darkening the town of McClennanville, South Carolina at 2:49 pm local time.

Don't just witness it . . .

Wireless Light Sensor


How large is the change in light level during the eclipse?As the eclipse passes students can use the Wireless Light Sensor to accurately measureand see the results in real time. This versatile and low cost sensor can also measure UVA, UVB, UV Index, RGB levels and much more.

Measure it!

Wireless Temperature Sensor


As students are measuring the changes in light level caused by the Eclipse, the Wireless Temperature Sensor can simultaneously measure the change in ambient temperature. All of our wireless sensors connect directly to computers, tablets, smartphones and Chromebooks giving you a portable (and affordable) solution for studying the eclipse.

The path of totality

The eclipse path. The solid red line shows the path of the total eclipse with the orange band showing the area where 90% of the sun being covered. Lighter orange and yellow areas show areas that will witness a partial eclipse.

Image courtesy of

Using PASCO Wireless Sensors

Just download the free SPARKvue app for iOS, Android or Chromebooks or a free 60 day trial for Mac/Windows computers and then wirelessly connect our sensors with no other equipment needed.

Collect and stream data in real-time or set up the activity in advance using our exclusive logging mode.

Even if you aren't going to be along the path of totality, this is the first solar eclipse in nearly a century to be visible (and measurable!) to a large extent by the entire contigous U.S.!

Collecting data

Our SPARKvue software or app is intuitive, yet powerful giving you all the tools you need to measure the effects of the eclipse. Use the device of your choice and then share your data with your students or classmates.

Sample data of light level and temperature changes during a solar eclipse.

Eclipse activities

Here are some initial activities for high school and middle school students. Check back soon as we will be adding additional activities in the weeks to come.

For high school students:

A complete activity for the day of the eclipse

Measuring a Solar Eclipse

Editable activity (.doc)  

SPARKvue Config File (.spklab)

For middle school students

Here are two preliminary activities that will help give students the skills and background they'll need leading up to the eclipse activity (coming soon)

Light and Angle

Editable activity (.doc)       SPARKvue Config File (.spklab)

Light and Temperature

Editable activity (.doc)       SPARKvue Config File (.spklab)

Additional resources

How much of the eclipse will you see where you are?

The 2017 total solar eclipse will be visible across the entire continental United States. Partial Eclipse viewings will range from .6-.9 across the U.S. (outside the path of totality)

Image courtesy of

A stunning visualization created by NASA

Driven by massive amounts of data, NASA gives us an unprecedented look at what the solar eclipse will look like as it crosses the United States.

For more information, visit