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How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality ( (link is external).

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” (example shown at left) or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight. Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers (link is external) page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products... Read More


Time and Date in Lafayette

Max View in Lafayette Square

Monday, August 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Global Type: Total Solar Eclipse

Lafayette Square: Partial Solar Eclipse


Begins: Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 11:57 am

Maximum: Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Ends: Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Duration: 3 hours   |   Magnitude: 0.80

Click here to view an animation showing what the eclipse approximately will look like near the maximum point.



Eclipse History 101

The earliest writings we have showing that people paid attention to eclipses in any official way are around 5,000 years old.


In 1999, Irish Archeoastronomer Paul Griffin investigated the Loughcrew Cairn L Megalithic Monument in Ireland, and discovered that a set of spiral-shaped petroglyphs that might correspond to a solar eclipse which occurred on November 30, 3340 BCE. The symbols display a consistent coding of the sun, moon and horizon, and of the 92 tracks of total solar eclipses, only the one for 3340 BCE visible at this site displayed the same geometric relationships... Read More


Eclipse 101


The last time most Americans experienced a total solar eclipse was 1991.  In 2017, an estimated 500 million people will be able to observe the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse, in partial or total form: 391 million in the U.S., 35 million in Canada, and 119 million in Mexico (plus Central America and parts of South America and northwestern Europe) .  This is a golden opportunity to observe one of nature’s most exciting splendors and to engage and educate diverse audiences in the U.S. and internationally, using a backdrop of this amazing celestial event coupled with NASA unique assets. 

Already there is great excitement and planning underway for the eclipse. A quick Google search on “eclipse 2017”, for example, yielded over 35 million hits! Numerous planning meetings are now being held within universities, K-12 institutions, museums, civic groups, and amateur astronomy clubs around the nation and abroad. Where will you be on August 21, 2017? What will you be doing for the eclipse? This website has many suggestions for safe eclipse viewing, eclipse parties, activities, and experiments you can do... Read More