Author Helen Headrick | Illustrator Philip Goudeau


The Sun’s corona is the outermost part of its atmosphere. It’s always present but isn’t usually visible because the Sun’s glare masks it. During a solar eclipse the corona is visible. As the Moon blocks the Sun, the corona is seen encircling the Moon. The corona’s white streamers and flumes of ionized gasses appear to flow out from around the edges of the Moon. Sometimes tints of reds and pinks may be seen, which are caused by the superheated hydrogen of the Sun’s chromosphere.

Baily’s Beads and the Diamond Ring are other notable displays caused by an eclipse. Both occur at the beginning and ending of totality during a solar eclipse, so viewers will need eye protection. The Moon’s rugged landscape of mountains and craters allows spots of light to shine around the edge. These spots look like beads on a sparkling bracelet or necklace. Baily’s Beads are named after Francis Baily, who first explained the phenomenon in 1836. The Diamond Ring occurs when only one bead is shining. 

Create a Chalk Corona art project!

Materials needed: black construction paper, white, red and pink chalk, a round object, heavy paper or cardboard, masking or painters’ tape, pencils and scissors


  • Trace a circle around the round object onto the heavy paper or cardboard and then cut it out.
  • Tape the circle to the black construction paper.
  • Trace around the edge of the circle with the chalk. The more times you trace around the circle, the more chalk dust is deposited. Remember to use the red and pink sparingly, since this effect is not always present. 
  • Smudge the chalk dust away from the circle, creating streamers and flumes. 
  • Remove the taped circle.
  • Use smudged white chalk spots along the edge to add Baily’s Beads and the Diamond Ring, if wanted, after the circle has been removed.
  • After creating your eclipse art, find places to post it for others to enjoy.

Create an Eclipse Video

Materials Needed: one or more cell phones or other cameras, solar filters for each phone or camera, tripods, writing materials, video and music software


  • Set your phones or cameras up on the tripods, with solar filters for each, facing the Sun.
  • Do this prior to the eclipse to protect your eyes. If you have more than one cell phone or camera available, set those up to record yourself and others during the eclipse.
  • Press record and enjoy the eclipse. Afterward, review and edit the footage and write lyrics about the experience.
  • Add this to the edited footage, and you’ll have your own eclipse video to share.

Eclipse Travel Art

There are total solar eclipses about once a year. Make a list of where these will occur over the next ten years. Research the art of the countries and continents where the eclipses will occur and create your own artwork in the style of one of these places. Be sure to put an eclipse in your artwork.

Newspaper Connections

Eclipse art is fun! Check to see if your newspaper is planning a section on eclipse activities. If so, submit your eclipse art for possible publication.