National Air and Space Museum to Host Solar Eclipse Viewing and Activities

Press Release

Monday, August 14, 2017 - 4:30pm

Media Inquiries

Alison Mitchell, 202-633-2376,
Amy Stamm, 202-633-2392,

Public Inquiries


All-Day Eclipse Programming at Both Locations and Online Aug. 21

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is Washington, D.C.’s source for the solar eclipse Aug. 21. A total solar eclipse has not crossed the U.S., coast to coast, in nearly 100 years. In Washington, D.C., the moon will partially eclipse the sun, blocking 82% of the sun from view at 2:42 pm EDT. On the day of the eclipse, both museum locations will host viewing opportunities (weather permitting), hands-on activities and will be giving away free safe eclipse glasses. The museum’s “STEM in 30” program will broadcast live online from the “path of totality” and the museum in Washington. The eclipse will also be broadcast live online from the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory, weather permitting.

National Air and Space Museum, National Mall Building:

  • Free eclipse glasses—while supplies last
  • Safe solar telescopes—1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Make your own pinhole eclipse viewer: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Planetarium presentation—What’s New in Space Science: Today’s Solar Eclipse with Genevieve de Messieres, astronomy educator: 10:30 a.m.
  • Meet Mindy Thomas, host of “Wow in the World,” NPR’s podcast for curious kids and their grown-ups—10 to 10:50 a.m.
  • Shadow Puppets—11 a.m. to noon
  • Eclipse Stories with Mindy Thomas and David DeVorkin—11 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Eclipsapalooza Interactive Journey with David DeVorkin, curator of astronomy, and Genevieve de Messieres, astronomy educator—11:30 a.m. to noon.

National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Va.:

  • Free eclipse glasses—while supplies last
  • Safe solar telescopes—1 to 4 p.m.
  • Make your own pinhole eclipse viewer—11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Portable Planetarium shows—10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.

Off-site locations including safe solar telescopes and free eclipse glasses, while supplies last:

Online programming:

  • Live from the path of totality*—STEM in 30 will broadcast the eclipse from Liberty, Mo., which is in the path, on Air and Space Live
  • View of the eclipse from Washington will be streamed on the Observatory’s Ustream channel, weather permitting

*The path of totality is the narrow path across the country where the moon’s shadow will completely eclipse the sun.

For information about the eclipse, visit

About the Museum

The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. The museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking before 4 p.m. at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

Note: Summer hours for the National Mall building are 10 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and in effect until Sept. 9, unless otherwise noted. Check the museum’s website for the most up-to-date times.

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  • Public Observatory
    At the National Air and Space Museum's public observatory, visitors can look through the 16-inch telescope to discover craters on the Moon, spots on the Sun (using safe solar filters), and other wonders of the Universe.
  • Visitors in the Public Observatory
    Astronomy educator Katie Moore assists a small group of youngsters in the Museum's Observatory, where they are observing sunspots through a device known as the Sun Gun.