A total solar eclipse is coming and will be visible across the United States; however, for many viewers — including those in most areas of North Carolina — a partial solar eclipse will be seen. Take the time to head outdoors the early afternoon of August 21, 2017, and see this rare event. Stuck at work? Step outside if you can; take a short break to watch the minutes-long eclipse. According to NASA:
On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights — a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere — the corona — can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.
NASA created an eclipse website to provide a guide to this amazing event. Find activities, events, broadcasts, and resources from NASA and their partners across the nation at eclipse2017.nasa.gov. Viewing safety information is included on that site. Staring at the sun is never a good idea. During an eclipse it is easy to get caught up; don’t look directly at a solar eclipse.
On the day, share your experience on Twitter using the hashtag #SolarEclipse and watch for others’ tweets.
Live stream will be available at www.nasa.gov/eclipselive.
Several communities in Western North Carolina will experience the total solar eclipse. See more at www.eclipse2017.org/2017/states/NC.htm. Note that the event with NASA scientists at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (Transylvania County) is sold out. The nearby Gorges State Park is hosting an eclipse weekend with Monday viewing party.
In the meantime, check out this article on animal behavior during an eclipse.
Or, check out our article on NASA’s planned broadcast, eye safety and more.
Eastern North Carolina Events
Most of North Carolina is not in the path of totality, where the moon will completely cover the sun. Observers in North Carolina should expect to see a partial solar eclipse.
Carrboro (Road Trip)
A group in Carrboro is planning to drive to South Carolina, and are seeking drivers and riders. See more here.
Head over to Morehead Planetarium & Science Center on Monday, August 21, 2017, noon-4:30pm. The address for the Morehead Planetarium & Science Center is 250 E Franklin Street, Chapel Hill NC. “View one of the most spectacular phenomenons on the Morehead sundial.” Tickets to the planetarium show about the solar eclipse are $6 and include free viewing glasses. Plus, there will be free games and crafts, science screen printing, and viewing the Solar Eclipse (live stream of the path of totality). Food Trucks will be on-site. For more information on the Solar Eclipse see our website at moreheadplanetarium.org/eclipse.
Clayton High School, 600 S Fayetteville Street, Clayton NC, is hosting a viewing party on Monday, August 21, 2017, 1-3:30pm. The Clayton High School welcomes families from around the community. In addition to watching the partial solar eclipse, there will be astronomy activities and learning opportunities. Additional information is available here. Registration is requested, and the form is online here.
The Sarah P. Duke Gardens is hosting a viewing party on Monday, August 21, 2017, noon-5pm. Sarah P. Duke Gardens is located at 420 Anderson Street, Durham NC. Note that parking is $2 per hour. In addition to watching the partial eclipse of the sun, there will be free hands-on activities for all ages. See more at gardens.duke.edu/learn/solar-eclipse-2017.
Additionally, Durham Technical Community College is holding a viewing event just for staff and students. Details are here.
Farmville Public Library will host a viewing party for the solar eclipse at 4276 W Church Street, Farmville NC, on August 21, 2017, 2-3pm. The viewing event begins with hands-on children’s activities and a discussion of safe viewing. Materials will be provided to construct pinhole viewers to safely observe the eclipse. For more information, contact Connie Widney, Children’s Librarian, at 252.753.3355 or email.
Additionally, the library is holding an educational program about the solar eclipse on Monday, August 7, 2017, 6:30pm at the Farmville Public Library. Brian Baker, from A Time for Science in Grifton NC, will describe what an eclipse is, why the eclipse on August 21, 2017 is so special, and how to safely view the eclipse. For more information about this free event, contact Connie Widney.
HobbyTown is hosting a viewing on Monday, August 21, 2017, 1-4pm, at HobbyTown Fayetteville, NC 3833 Ramsey Street, Fayetteville NC. They will have viewing glasses to see this “once in a lifetime” event.
Trollingwood Taproom & Brewery is hosting an eclipse party on Monday, August 21, 2017, 1:19-4:19pm, at 707 Dickinson Avenue, Greenville NC. There will be a 95% solar eclipse in Greenville that peaks at 2:47pm. Come and watch on the patio. Special shades will be available for anyone who wants to play hooky and experience this natural phenomenon.
A Time for Science will offer viewing of the solar eclipse through solar telescopes on Monday, August 21, 2017, 1-4pm. The address is 949 Contentnea Lane, Grifton NC. Enjoy free planetarium shows, games, and activities. For more information, call 252.364.6569 or email.
High Point (local event and road trip)
High Point University is offering their students two solar eclipse viewing opportunities: an on-campus event and a road trip to either South Carolina or Tennessee (wherever the skies will be clearest that day).
For Girl Scouts and their families only: On Monday, August 21, 2017, noon-4:09pm, view the eclipse from Sturgeon City, 50 Court Street, Jacksonville NC. The Girl Scouts of Onslow County will be partnering with Sturgeon City and offering educational activities alongside eclipse viewing. Bring friends and family, blankets and chairs. Event includes glasses and patch for each Girl Scout Member, and glasses for non-Girl Scout members. Fee is $3 for Girl Scouts, $2 for non-scouts. Register by August 10. See details here.
View the eclipse from the Neuseway Nature Park, 401 W Caswell Street, Kinston NC, on Monday, August 21, 2017, 11am-3pm. Take part in the live streaming event via NASA station. Watch the eclipse in the Neuseway Planetarium. There will be educational activities for kids as well as guest speaker Jason Perry, astronomy professor from Lenoir Community College.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, 2-3:15pm, there will be an eclipse party and viewing at East Regional Library, 946 Steeple Square Court, Knightdale NC.
Pick up a free pair of eclipse glasses, complete a craft, and watch a live NASA streaming of the total solar eclipse. Registration required as supplies are limited. Call the library at 919.217.5300 to register.
Join the North Carolina Small Farm Association to watch the eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017, noon-6pm, at Rocky Ridge Farm, 135 Rocky Ridge Lane, Louisburg NC. Register by August 14 and fees are $10 per adult (kids free). Register after August 14 and fee goes up to $15 per adult (kids free). At the door, $20 per adult, though North Carolina Small Farm Association Members get admitted for half price. Glasses included. There will also be educational demonstrations, a tractor-pulled wagon ride, a farm tour, and lunch (pot luck, so bring something to share). There will be fishing, too, and produce for sale at the farm. Register at onenessfarmnc.wixsite.com/solareclipse-party.
Mooresville (Western NC)
A unique viewing event is planned in Western NC, so is included here for your consideration. on Monday, August 21, 2017, 1:30-3:30pm, the Iredell County Parks & Recreation is holding an on-the-water viewing event starting at the Stumpy Creek boat launch, 160 Stumpy Creek Road, Mooresville NC. View the eclipse from a canoe on Lake Norman. Meet at the boat launch at 1:30, get basic canoe instruction, and then head out to view the eclipse. There is a $10 fee which includes canoe, PFD, and eclipse glasses. Pre-registration is required here, as space is limited.
Mount Gilead (Western-ish)
Scouts and Family are invited to a special Program “Astronomy Merit Badge: Introduction to Astronomy for All People” on Monday, August 21, 2017, 9am-4:30pm. Held at the Town Creek Indian Mound — a NC Historic Site — located at 509 Town Creek Mound Road, Mount Gilead NC, all are welcome to attend. The evening viewing session may be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather. All Scouts who would like credit for the merit badge will need to have their Scoutmaster sign their registration or bring a signed “blue card” with them prior to starting the first class. For more information, call 910.439.6802 or email.
Join the NC State College of Sciences on Monday, August 21, 2017, 12:30-4pm, at The Brickyard, 2 Broughton Drive, Raleigh NC. The eclipse will occur during the afternoon, peaking at 2:44pm. This free celebration will be full of science activities and eclipse-related fun. Viewing tools and a wide variety of activities will be available at this event. Visitor paid parking will be available in the Dan Allen Deck and Coliseum Deck, and in metered spots on Hillsborough Street. Roads around the Brickyard are gated and accessible by permit only, so consult these maps to help you find your way to the public lots and event location. More information at sciences.ncsu.edu/event/eclipse-day-celebration.
An eclipse viewing event is planned for August 21, 2017, in the courtyard of Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences, 270 Gay Street, Rocky Mount NC. This free event is scheduled for 1-4pm. For details, call Scott Houston at Braswell Memorial Library at 252.442.1951.
Ed. Note: The Braswell library and Imperial Centre are located close to each other, about a block apart along Franklin Street.
Selma Parks and Recreation is holding a Solar Eclipse “Get Mooned” Viewing Party on Monday, August 21, 2017, 1:30-3:30pm. Gather on the lawn at the Harrison Center for Active Aging, 611 W Noble Street, Selma NC.
Said Parks and Recreation director, Joe Carter:
“It’s important to have a large, flat area free of trees that is at least 170 feet above sea level for maximum eclipse viewing and Selma’s Harrison Center for Active Aging fits that bill. We will have no trouble watching this spectacular sight! You must protect your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun’s rays and having a pair of “Eclipse Glasses” is imperative. Welders’ masks work quite well in a solar eclipse situation if you have them, but regular sunglasses or a camera lens is not sufficient enough protection. …This only happens once every 100 years and it deserves a party!”
A total solar eclipse occurs when our moon aligns to completely cover the sun. Starting at approximately 2:33pm, this spectacular event will occur. Selma, NC will be momentarily surrounded by almost total darkness, and the sun’s corona will be visible.
Bring your own chairs and viewing glasses or devices. Canopies and umbrellas will not be allowed on the viewing grounds, as this will hinder the viewing rights of others. The Center for Active Aging doors will be open for those who need to move indoors to cool off while waiting for the eclipse. Drinks, snow cones, and snacks will be available for purchase. Join corn hole, Jenga, card, and Connect Four games.
For more information, call Selma Parks and Recreation at 919.975.1411.
Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield will be showing NASA’s broadcast of the eclipse on the library’s display screens on August 21, 2017 during the eclipse. See their Facebook page for updates. Note that on August 14, they announced that they were OUT of eclipse glasses, so plan accordingly.
Bring the family and participate in free viewing of the eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017, 2-3pm. Solar glasses will be provided, along with activities to teach and crafting too. Held at Wendell Community Library, 207 S Hollybrook Road, Wendell NC.
To register, visit the Wendell Community Library page, choose “Events” and when you select the Solar Eclipse Viewing Program, there will be a “Sign Up” button to complete registration.
Head over to Airlie Gardens in conjunction with the Cape Fear Museum on Monday, August 21, 2017, 12:30-3:30pm, for eclipse viewing.
Airlie Gardens is located at 300 Airlie Road, Wilmington NC. General admission fees apply — $9 for adults, $5 for New Hanover County residents and Military with identification, and $3 for children ages 4-12 — with the eclipse viewing included. No need to pre-register; just snow up and bring eye protection with you. Games and activities are planned.
More details are included on the Cape Fear Museum website at www.capefearmuseum.com/programs/2017-solar-eclipse-party and on the Arlie Gardens website at airliegardens.org/events-news/2017-solar-eclipse-party. Or, call 910.798.7700 with questions.
Ace’s Ale House at 3710 B Peppermill Drive, Wilson NC, is holding a Great American Eclipse Viewing party on Monday, August 21, 2017, noon-5pm. Due to the way Ace’s Ale House rests within the city, the Southern sky will be viewable from their parking lot. In addition to the main event the universe is providing, this location will be playing space movies all day. See their Facebook page for updates.
The town Parks and Rec Department is holding “Total Eclipse on the Lawn” at Town Hall, 1003 N Arendell Avenue, Zebulon NC. The event is scheduled for Monday, August 21, 2017, 1-3pm. According to their Facebook, there will be “a Moonwalk bounce house, lawn games, scientific education, music, Italian ice and FREE eclipse glasses for the first 200 participants.”