Observing on Campus: Solar Eclipse 2017

Amanda S. Bosh
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Kresge Oval

It has been nearly a century since a total solar eclipse traversed coast-to-coast across the USA. Everyone in North America will have a view of the Moon blocking at least part of the Sun (Partial Eclipse).

Join us for eclipse viewing at MIT!

Monday, 21 August 2017 | 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm | Kresge Oval, across from the Student Center | http://whereis.mit.edu/?go=G8
No pre-registration required. The event is free and open to the public.

Weather: At this point, we’re able to get a look ahead at the weather, and we see that Monday is predicted to be clear! As we know, this can always change. Keep an eye on your favorite weather source!

Should I be at the event for the entire time?

The eclipse will progress slowly over the 2.5 hours. It will be difficult to tell that the eclipse has begun, for about 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the event. There is no need to stay for the entire event! We encourage people to spread out their visit time so that you won’t be waiting for a long time for access to solar glasses. The view of the sun at 2:30 pm will be very similar to the view of the sun at 2:46 pm and at 3:00 pm. Check out this animation; anytime between 1:40 pm and 3:30 pm will be a great time to see this phenomenon: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/cambridge

Eclipse Glasses

We will have eclipse glasses available at this event, for you to use at the event only. You will not be able to take them away with you, as we need to keep them there so others can view the event safely. We will also have two telescopes set up with special filters to allow you to view the sun safely; we expect there to be lines to look through these telescopes. While you will get a magnified view of the sun through the telescope, it’s not necessary. Eclipse glasses will also give you a great view of the eclipse in progress.

Please keep in mind eye safety - you must wear eclipse glasses every time you look at the sun, even during a partial eclipse!

What will I see?

From Cambridge, a maximum of 63% of the sun will be blocked by the moon. Check out this animation of the entirety of the partial eclipse as seen from Cambridge: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/cambridge

When does it happen?

From Cambridge, partial eclipse begins at 1:28 pm EDT
maximum coverage at 2:46 pm EDT
partial eclipse ends at 3:59 pm EDT
total duration: 2h 31m



We are expecting a large crowd for this event! Please be patient and considerate of other eclipse viewers and of our volunteers. This event is put on entirely by volunteer effort!

Do I need to be at MIT to see this event?

Absolutely not! Wherever you are (in North America) you’ll be able to see at least the partial eclipse. You’ll need special eclipse glasses if you want to look directly at the sun (don’t try to look at the sun without eye protection!). If you don’t have eclipse glasses, you’ll still be able to see what’s happening by using the pinhole projection method described here: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2017/sharing-an-eclipse-with-kids.html#handout

This is a great option for younger children who might have difficulty with eclipse glasses. You can have fun with it and make pinhole pictures. Try it out now, you’ll see a round projection. On Monday, you’ll see a circle with a “bite” taken out, where the moon is blocking the sun from view.

Here are some eclipse observing tips from MIT Professor of Planetary Sciences and eclipse enthusiast Richard P. Binzel:

 Upcoming Solar Eclipse: Top Ten Tips for Observing

More Info

General information: http://www.eclipse2017.org/eclipse2017_main.htm

Q&A with Sky & Telescope magazine:

NASA live stream: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive


If you have questions about the eclipse, feel free to email Amanda S. Bosh (asbosh@mit.edu).