Great American Eclipse
August 21 | 11 AM - 1:30 PM

A total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. Solar eclipses take place when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, blocking the image of the Sun from viewers on Earth. This upcoming eclipse has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse because it will be visible in totality only from the United States. It is extremely rare for an eclipse to only be visible in totality from one country making the Great American Eclipse a historic event. In fact, the last total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States was in 1918. However, there was a total solar eclipse that crossed the east coast of the United States in 1970.

Be a part of history by celebrating the Great American Eclipse at the Museum from 11 AM to 1:30 PM on August 21! There will be hands-on eclipse themed activities in Innovation Studios, a live stream of totality in the Planetarium, solar eclipse glasses and more! You can even ask an expert, Dr. Morgan Rehnberg, about solar eclipses.

Explore solar eclipses here!


Chat with an Expert

Dr. Morgan Rehnberg is the Director of Scientific Presentation at the Museum. As an astronomer, he worked as part of NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn to study the planet’s rings in unprecedented detail. As a writer and public speaker, Morgan is a passionate advocate for the public’s engagement with science. He’s best known as a co-host of the Universe Today’s Weekly Space Hangout and as a writer for the critically-acclaimed SciShow.

 


History of Solar Eclipses

Solar eclipses are among the oldest reliably-kept scientific records, with a history spanning more than 3000 years. In fact, their presence in the historical record is a vital tool that enables historians to determine exact dates from ancient calendar systems. In the time before the invention of the telescope, solar eclipses were the only method for observing the true nature of the Sun. More than 600 years before Galileo, an observer in modern-day Istanbul made the first observation of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona. During another eclipse 200 years later, a Russian astronomer made the first-ever observation of a solar flare, the powerful eruption of material on the Sun’s surface! It’s safe to say that, with solar eclipses, we wouldn’t understand the Sun the same way today.

First photograph of a solar eclipse. Julius Berkowski, 1851.

 


Path of Totality

 


What will it look like?

Simulation of Great American Eclipse from Space

Simulation of Great American Eclipse from Fort Worth

 


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Fun Fact
Every year, the Museum provides almost 200,000 hours of science and social studies education for Texas students.

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