Science of the Eclipse

08/21/2017, 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Free with Admission map


Join us at the museum on Monday, August 21 to safely view the partial solar eclipse using solarscopes and participate in a day of hands-on activities!

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in between the sun and the earth, casting a small shadow on Earth’s surface. The Museum will see a partial eclipse, meaning that at its peak at 2:44pm, about 93% of the Sun will be covered by the moon.


9:30am - 4:00pm Explore the science behind an eclipse with hands-on activities and crafts for all ages. Our resident astronomer will be answering all of your space questions.

  • Discover the celestial mechanics of a solar eclipse as you simulate how the Earth, Moon, and Sun move in space.
  • Explore the BIG cosmic coincidence of a solar eclipse as we relate size and distance in space.
  • Learn about sunlight & test different materials to see how well they protect us from the Sun’s harmful UV rays
  • Make your own UV bead bracelets
  • Create a pinhole viewer; a safe way to view the eclipse on your own!


2:43pm - 2:45pm Watch the maximum partial eclipse

Three options for viewing!

  • View as a group through shared eclipse glasses and two solarscopes on the Magic Wings Butterfly House plaza. Easy and safe to use, solar scopes project large image of the sun onto a white screen using a series of mirrors and lenses. This is a great option for viewing the eclipse together as a family!
  • Enjoy live streams from across the country from the comfort of the Lab; a great way to catch all the action if it is rainy or overcast in Durham.
  • Guests are welcome to watch the eclipse on their own from anywhere on campus with proper eye protection, such as personal eclipse glasses. The Museum will not have eclipse glasses available for purchase.

In The Lab

10:30am - 4:30pm Participate in space themed citizen science projects and watch a livestream of the total eclipse! Continue the fun at home with a take home resource list of even more citizen science projects to enjoy.


Members receive UNLIMITED admission all year long!