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The Fleet Science Center hosts a free outdoor viewing event for the Great American Eclipse

The eclipse viewing event will feature special solar telescopes, Q&A with local astronomers, supplies to make your own pinhole eclipse viewer and the opportunity to experience the eclipse with hundreds of other astronomy enthusiasts.

August 14, 2017


San Diego--On the morning of Monday, August 21, 2017, the path of the Moon will come directly between the Sun and the Earth and The Great American Eclipse will occur in the sky above the United States. This will be the first total solar eclipse to occur in the United States since 1979. The path of totality-the roughly 100-mile-wide band where the moon will appear to completely block out the sun-will run right through the middle of the country from Oregon to South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse will be visible to almost everyone in the continental United States.

To celebrate this special celestial event, the Fleet Science Center will be hosting a FREE outdoor eclipse viewing event beginning at 9 a.m. on the morning of Monday, August 21. This includes free eclipse viewing from the Plaza de Balboa in front of the Fleet Science Center; the opportunity to ask our resident astronomer, Dr. Lisa Will, all your eclipse-related questions; supplies and instructions to make your own pinhole projector to view the eclipse; special solar telescope viewing with the San Diego Astronomy Association; and the opportunity to purchase inexpensive solar eclipse glasses made with special filters that allow you to view the eclipse without risking eye damage. [Update: As of Friday, August 18, eclipse glasses are sold out and the Fleet does not anticipate getting any more in stock.]

In San Diego, we can expect to see a partial solar eclipse with 57% coverage. At 9:07 a.m. the Moon will start to move across the Sun. The world will get noticeably darker as more and more of the Sun gets covered. Maximum eclipse for San Diego coverage occurs at 10:23 a.m. and the end of the eclipse for us will be at 11:46 a.m. There won't be another solar eclipse visible in San Diego until 2023.

"The eclipse is an event for all of your senses!" said Dr. Steve Snyder, CEO of the Fleet Science Center. "During the eclipse, take the time to look at the world around you. Watch the shadows of the trees for projections of the eclipse. Listen to the sounds around you as the natural world reacts to this event. See if you can feel the change in temperature as the moon begins to block the sun."

No tickets are needed for the eclipse viewing event on the Plaza de Balboa. The Fleet's cafe, Craveology, will be open for croissants, lattes, smoothies and more!

Another option available to eclipse fans on Monday, August 21, will be to join the Fleet for the NASA Edge Megacast in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. The Fleet will open at 8:30 a.m. and will show the NASA Edge Megacast on the Giant Dome Screen beginning at 8:45 a.m. and continuing until 12:30 p.m. Fleet visitors can come and go as they please during the Megacast, until theater capacity is reached. Regular Fleet admission rates apply.

In the Megacast, viewers around the world will see a wealth of images captured before, during and after the eclipse by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Each view will offer a unique vantage point for the celestial event. When the moon completely blocks the sun the otherwise hidden solar corona appears. Bright stars and planets also will become visible. 

The Megacast on the Dome is free with paid Fleet admission. This is not a separately ticketed event, so attendees are still welcome to select an IMAX® film to view starting at 1 p.m. as part of their admission. The NASA broadcast will be shown on the Dome until 12:30 p.m., and it will continue on a large monitor in the Fleet's theater lobby until 1:15 p.m.

Most importantly, view the eclipse safely! If you want to be ultra-prepared, purchase your solar eclipse glasses in advance from the Fleet's North Star Science Store and attend one of our fantastic eclipse preparation events. [Update: As of Friday, August 18, eclipse glasses are sold out and the Fleet does not anticipate getting any more in stock.]

On August 19, the Fleet's Tinkerers' Club will be making solar eclipse viewers out of everyday household items. This activity is for ages 7+. Learn more.

Also, the Fleet's 52 Weeks of Science program will be hosting a solar eclipse workshop on August 19 and their own Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on August 21, both in Barrio Logan! Learn more

This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years. After The Great American Eclipse in 2017, the next solar eclipse visible in San Diego will not occur until 2023.

More information on the Fleet's Solar Eclipse Viewing Event can be found here: http://www.fleetscience.org/events/great-american-eclipse.

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All media is invited to join the Fleet for the Eclipse Viewing Event on the morning of August 21, 2017. To request an advance interview of a representative from the Fleet Science Center or to schedule a media preview of the eclipse event, please contact Fleet Science Center Public Relations Manager Nathan Young at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org

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About the Fleet Science Center

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet—and beyond—in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet hosts school field trips, science workshops and educational camps. For adults, we offer events like Fleet Night of Science and community events, such as Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar. In the community, we provide free neighborhood science events weekly through 52 Weeks of Science. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in Craveology. Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego’s science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, please call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at fleetscience.org.