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Eastern Florida State College Planetarium to Offer Free Solar Eclipse Viewing Event

July 27, 2017

What's being touted as "The Great American Eclipse" takes place on August 21 and EFSC's Planetarium & Observatory will open for special afternoon hours that day, featuring safe viewing opportunities.

The solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 will begin at approximately 1:21 p.m. and continue until 4:17 p.m.  Maximum eclipse in Brevard County occurs at 2:55 p.m. when 88% of the sun will be obscured by the moon.

The Observatory at the Eastern Florida State College Planetarium, located on the western side of the Cocoa Campus, will be open to the public for the full duration of the event.

Children wearing eclipse viewing glasses
The Sun must be viewed through special safety glasses or other approved methods. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun or partially eclipsed Sun. Photo Courtesy: Mark Margolis / Rainbow Symphony

Doors open at 1 p.m. and attendance is free. Solar eclipse glasses are a must. As of Monday, August 14, the Planetarium had sold out of its supply of the protective glasses, but will be facilitating safe viewing opportunities on August 21.

Staff will be on hand to assist guests on how to safely view the sun either through the telescope, by direct viewing with the appropriate filters or using indirect projection methods.

“This event is being touted as The Great American Eclipse because the entire lower 48 states are in line to see at least part of it,” said Mark Howard, Director of the EFSC Planetarium.

“However, the total phase of the eclipse will not be visible from Florida. It can only be experienced along an extremely narrow path running from Oregon to South Carolina."

Though eclipses occur rather frequently they are usually in remote locations requiring great effort to reach.  This eclipse marks the first time since 1979 that observers anywhere on the United States mainland will get to witness at least a partial view of a total eclipse of the sun.

Many helpful websites sporting interactive maps and observing tips are available online to make a viewing experience successful and safe.  The following two can be especially useful:

NASA's Eclipse 101 Information Site

Time and Date: Merritt Island Specific Information

In addition to the Planetarium event, the College's public television station, WEFS, will be airing a live program from South Carolina, which is in the path of totality. Join S.C. public television host Beryl Dakers for the extremely rare experience of witnessing a 100% total solar eclipse. The live show starts Monday, August 21 at 2:30 PM on WEFS-TV, available over the air and on local cable systems.

Safety is always of utmost importance when observing the sun. Some simple rules for safe viewing are listed at NASA's eclipse viewing site.

For more information, call the EFSC Planetarium at (321) 433-7373 and visit for more information and directions to the Planetarium.