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a graphic of the solar eclipse

Something really cool is happening in Rochester one year from now – a total solar eclipse! And this isn’t like the last solar eclipse in 2017; this time, we in Rochester are in the path of totality. That means, at approximately 3:20 pm on April 8, 2024, it will be completely dark!

“This hasn’t happened here in Rochester for more than 100 years and it won’t happen again for another century,” said Emily Earley, Multi-Site STEM Coordinator with the Community Services Division at the YMCA of Greater Rochester. “The partial eclipse six years ago was cool, but having a full one will be an incredible experience. It’s going to be 10 degrees colder, and it will be night during the day.”

And Earley should know. A meteorologist before joining the YMCA of Greater Rochester, she loves all things science. It’s a big reason why she applied to be a part of Rochester Museum and Science Center Community Eclipse Ambassador Program. More than 200 organizations applied to be a part of the program, and Earley and the Y were one of 50 to be selected.

“Being able to bring awareness to something so impactful, so big, with our partners like RMSC, for a safe place to experience this and create memories is great,” she said. “It’s really awesome for the Y to be a part of this colossal event.”

Earley works with children and teens every day The Lewis Street YMCA Neighborhood Center, helping to expose them to different things through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). She plans various activities and lessons around STEM – learning about health foods, inviting visitors from other organizations come out to share their experiences in the field – all to open the eyes of her students up to possibilities.

Being a part of the Community Eclipse Ambassador Program, Earley and the Y will receive a telescope with a solar viewing filter, educational materials, solar viewing glasses, materials for activities and more. Along with this, Earley has also applied for and received grants from NASA as part of their SciFy NIFTY (NASA Inspires Future for Tomorrow’s Youth) program. Through that, Earley is able to connect her students with people who work at NASA.

“Maybe they never thought they could be involved with NASA or space, but to speak with experts who do – and ones that are from where they are, and look like them – can open their eyes,” she said.

There is a partial eclipse in October that Earley will be using to get her students ready for the real deal next April. We may be a year away, but we’re already circling April 8, 2024 on our calendars – and you should too! The YMCA of Greater Rochester is looking forward to coming together as a community for this once-in-a-generation event.