12 celebrations at science centers and museums—and why you should go

12 celebrations at science centers and museums—and why you should go

For basic information about how, when and where to experience the North American Total Solar Eclipse and why you should try to get yourself in the path of totality on April 8, check my main feed.

Where will you see the April 8 eclipse? If you’re headed for the path of totality—that 115-mile-wide swath of North America in which day will briefly turn to night—a great option is a large public event hosted by a museum, observatory, or scientific center.

The perfect mix of education and excitement for families, only at these events will you get interactive stations offering solar telescopes and hands-on activities—and there are plenty to choose from across the US

NOTE: This article only applies to those in the path of totality, which is shown on this map (below). Unless you are on the path of totality (which you can check this interactive map, this eclipse simulator and us this view of the eclipse then you will only see a partial solar eclipse, which requires solar safety glasses at all times and is not rare or unusual.

Science, Security and Solar Fields

“The advantage of going to one of these big events is that you can have knowledgeable people sharing what they know,” said Dr. Tyler Nordgren, an astronomer based in Ithaca, New York, author of Sun Moon Earth and eclipse artist at Space Art. Travel Bureau, in an interview. You can miss a lot during a total solar eclipse, from the pinhole projection of the crescent sun cast by the leaves on the trees to the subtle bands of shadows that appear on the ground just before and just after totality.

You can also use a solar telescope to look at the sun as it is partially eclipsed. “With a telescope, you’ll probably be able to see sunspots on the sun that just to the eye through your eclipse glasses might be invisible,” Nordgren said. “And if there’s an astronomer with a telescope that has an H-Alpha filter, you’ll see the highlights on the lunar limb of the sun before totality.” However, don’t count on being able to view the fully eclipsed sun through a large telescope. While this would indeed be an incredible sight, it is highly unlikely to be offered at a large event, where queuing for a quick look at the eclipsed sun is the practical limit.

Eclipses in context

“One of the biggest advantages is that scientists will be there explaining what’s going on and interpreting what people are seeing, preparing them for small details to see and putting them in context,” said Kevin Schindler, Historian and Public Information Officer at the Lowell Observatory. is hosting Eclipse Over Texas: Live From Waco at Baylor University’s McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, for 20-30,000 people. “Any way you look at it, it’s going to be a life-changing event, but when you understand more about it and the significance, it becomes even more meaningful.” There will be astronomers giving science talks, solar viewing and special events, but it’s also part of a weekend-long celebration for Waco, so there will be family events throughout.

There is also the issue of security. “One of the important things for us is safety and making sure people understand. You can take your glasses off all the time, but during the partial phases, you have to keep them on,” Schindler said. “So we’ll announce when totality starts.”

Party atmosphere

“It can be a real party atmosphere — like seeing a movie with a crowd versus staying at home and watching something that’s streaming itself on your TV,” Nordgren said. It is up to you, the individual, what will bring you maximum satisfaction.

Here are 12 museums, science centers and events within the path of totality hosted by observatories to view the total solar eclipse in the company of scientists, astronomers and nature lovers:

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

Where: Fort Worth, Texas

Total time and duration: 13:40 CDT, 2 minutes 28 seconds

More information and tickets

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Where: Dallas, Texas

Total time and duration: 1:40 PM CDT, 3 minutes 47 seconds

More information and tickets

YOUR Solar Eclipse

Where: Loftis Observatory, Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas

Total time and duration: 13:32 CDT, 4 minutes 23 seconds

More information and tickets

Mid-America Science Museum

Where: Hot Springs, Arkansas

Total time and duration: 13:49 CDT, 3 minutes 46 secondss

More information and tickets

Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science

Where: Evansville, Indiana

Total time and duration: 3:02 PM EDT, 3 minutes 1 seconds

More information and tickets

Armstrong Air and Space Museum

Where: Wapakoneta, Ohio

Total time and duration: 15:09 CDT, 3 minutes 57 seconds

More information and tickets

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Where: Cleveland, Ohio

Total time and duration: 3:14 PM EDT, 3 minutes 49 seconds

More information and tickets

Genesee Country Village and Museum

Where: Mumford, New York

Total time and duration: 3:19 PM EDT, 3 minutes 37 seconds

More information and tickets

Rochester Museum and Science Center

Where: Rochester, New York

Total time and duration: 3:20 PM EDT, 3 minutes 40 seconds

More information and tickets

Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology

Where: Syracuse, New York

Total time and duration: 3:23 PM EDT, 1 minute 30 seconds

More information and tickets

Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory

Where: Tupper Lake, New York

Total time and duration: 3:24 PM EDT, 3 minutes 33 seconds

More information and tickets

Mont-Mégantic Observatory

Where: Mont-Mégantic National Park, Quebec, Canada

Total time and duration: 3:28 PM EDT, 3 minutes and 28 seconds

More information and tickets

I am an eclipse expert – editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and author of The Complete Guide to the Great North American Eclipse of April 8, 2024. For the latest on the total solar eclipse – including travel and accommodation options –check my main feed for new articles every day.

I wish you clear skies and open eyes.

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