Observe the Solar Eclipse

Safely view the eclipse using our solar telescopes and viewers!

August 21, 2017 | 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory

Check back often for updates to our eclipse programming!

For the first time in almost 100 years, a solar eclipse will be visible from the entire United States! Observers located in Washington, D.C., will see a partial eclipse, with the Moon blocking up to 82% of the Sun.

The eclipse will be visible in Washington, D.C., from 1:17 pm to 4:01 pm EDT, with maximum eclipse at 2:42 pm EDT. Throughout this time period, visitors will be able to observe the Moon gradually moving across the face of the Sun and blocking a portion of its light.

Programming at the Museum's National Mall Building:

  • Safe solar telescopes (at the Observatory)
  • Free eclipse glasses (at the Observatory and inside at the Welcome Desk)
  • Make your own pinhole eclipse viewer (at the Observatory)
  • Live view of the eclipse from Museum staff in Liberty, Missouri, broadcast on screens throughout the Museum

Programming at the Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center:

  • Safe solar telescopes (outside the entrance)
  • Free eclipse glasses (outside the entrance and inside at the Welcome Desk)
  • Make your own pinhole eclipse viewer (inside, location TBD)

Off-site programming locations, including safe solar telescopes and free eclipse glasses:

  • The National Archives
  • The National Zoo
  • Various points along the National Mall (check back for updates)

Online programming:

*The path of totality is the region where the Moon will completely block the Sun, producing a "total solar eclipse," for up to 2 minutes 30 seconds. Only observers located in the path of totality will experience the total solar eclipse. 

Programming at the Museum before eclipse day:

  • Saturday, July 8 at the National Mall Building: Your Eclipse Family Day
  • Saturday, July 15 at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Your Eclipse Family Day
  • At both family days you can:
    • Learn about the science of eclipses
    • Make your own safe solar eclipse viewer
    • Plan how you'll observe the eclipse in August
    • Share your experiences of past eclipses
    • Learn how to photograph the eclipse from experienced astrophotographers

For more information about this and other solar eclipses, visit the Air and Space Museum's Eclipse Page and NASA's 2017 Eclipse Page.

The Observatory is free and open to the public during posted hours, weather permitting. For weather and closure updates, check @SIObservatory or ask at the Welcome Center when you arrive at the Museum.

Join us for other observing programs, and sign up for the Observatory newsletter (select Public Observatory News) to get notified about upcoming special events!

Accessibility: The Observatory dome and terrace are accessible via ramp or steps. Written and touchable explanatory materials are available.