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Glimpse the Eclipse at Museum of Natural History

Moon will pass between Earth and sun, casting 70-mile-wide shadow

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History invites families to view the upcoming solar eclipse, 9-11:45 a.m., Monday, Aug. 21, in the museum’s Palmer Observatory, 2559 Puesta del Sol.

Visitors to the museum’s free Experience the Eclipse event will be able to witness the sun’s corona illuminate from behind the moon using the museum’s state-of-the-art, 20-inch telescope. Museum guides will provide astronomy information to guests.

“This event will give our guests the chance to catch a glimpse of this unique sighting,” said Javier Rivera, the museum’s astronomy programs manager.

“Our goal is to provide a fun, educational opportunity for the community to come together to learn about the mysteries of space,” he said.

The solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and sun, blocking direct sunlight. The moon will cast a 70-mile-wide shadow spanning from Oregon to South Carolina.

Often described as the Great American Eclipse, the phenomenon will be visible only in the United States. The event will mark the eclipse’s first appearance since 1918. The next total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. won’t happen until 2024.

The solar eclipse will be streamed online on the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s Facebook page from 10-10:30 a.m.

Before you put your eyes on the skies, follow these tips from NASA:

» Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the phase of the eclipse when the moon blocks the sun’s surface entirely.

» Do not look head-on at the solar eclipse and give your eyes breaks when viewing it.

» Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Use special-purpose solar filters or eclipse glasses to watch the eclipse.

» The eclipse is best viewed when magnified. If possible, use a telescope with a solar filter for a magnified view that clearly shows the progress of an eclipse.

Visitors can buy special eclipse glasses in the Museum Store for $2 after Aug. 11.

For those wishing to explore the museum after attending the eclipse viewing, admission is required. Adult admission is $12, senior and teen tickets are $8; $7 for children. Admission is always free for museum members and for children age 2 and under.

For more information, call 682-4711 or visit

— Andy Silverman/Chris Davis for Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.


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