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The Science Museum of Virginia will celebrate the upcoming solar eclipse with a large-scale viewing party on its front lawn on August 21 from noon to four o’clock. The party will include sun, moon, and star-themed activities, food and drinks, and free eclipse viewing glasses and eclipse t-shirts for the first 500 guests with paid admission.
“The Museum celebrates the wonder of space every day, but so much can’t be seen without special equipment,” said Elizabeth Voelkel, director of guest operations and inspiration, Science Museum of Virginia. “The solar eclipse gives us a rare glimpse into the workings of our solar system, which is a real reason to throw a party.”
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, either totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on Earth. While Richmond is not in the path of totality for this eclipse, about 86 percent of the sun will be blocked for watchers in Richmond.
“We haven’t seen a partial solar eclipse comparable to what we’ll see in August since May 10, 1994, which makes this a very exciting celestial event,” said Justin Bartel, immersive experience specialist for the Museum.
The eclipse will begin to be visible in Richmond at 1:17 p.m. By 2:45 p.m., almost 86 percent of the sun will be blocked. Things will return to normal by 4:05 p.m. To avoid eye damage, eclipse viewing glasses should be worn while viewing the eclipse.
Museum activities will begin at noon and will take place both inside and on the grounds of the Science Museum of Virginia. Guests can enjoy several interactive activities such as creating a model to learn how eclipses work, a mobile of the Earth, moon and sun, a star map to identify constellations, or a star clock, which can help tell time using the constellations’ positions. Guests can also enjoy eclipse-themed Cosmic Expeditions in the Dome Theatre throughout the day.
Local food trucks Cheezilla, King of Pops and Intergalactic Tacos will be onsite, and food and drinks – including special eclipse-themed craft beers – will be available for purchase at the Museum’s Periodic Table Café.
Outdoor activities are free. Museum admission is required for indoor activities. The first 500 guests will receive free eclipse viewing glasses and an eclipse t-shirt with paid Museum admission. For more information, please call 804.864.1400 or visit the Science Museum of Virginia.