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Solar Eclipse 2017


Can't get enough? We're already excited about the NEXT solar eclipse ... April 8, 2024. And guess what? The Fairbanks Museum is in the path of totality! Make your plans today to be with us!




The August 21st solar eclipse is bound to be spectacular, and did you know that Vermont will experience a sixty percent eclipse? To celebrate the event, the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, in partnership with the Northeast Kingdom Astronomy Foundation (NKAF) and The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, is hosting its own partial eclipse viewing event. Come join our world class planetarium presenters and scientists for a fun, family friendly afternoon full of activities that’ll be sure to get you excited for this rare opportunity!


Outside in front of the Museum, from 1pm to 4pm on Monday, August 21st, we will teach you how to build your own solar observing pinhole projector, decorate a shoebox solar viewer, or you can take a peek through one of our specially made solar telescopes. Inside we will be broadcasting live coverage of the path of totality and offering free planetarium shows. In addition, we will be demonstrating hands-on activities for young ones that will help them understand solar eclipses, provided by the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE).


Refreshments will be provided. Solar eclipse viewing glass will be for sale in the Nature Gift Shop. Hosted by Bobby Farlice-Rubio (Planetarium Educator), Brad Vietje (NKAF Educator), and Adele West-Fisher (St. Johnsbury Atheneum).


This event is weather dependent. Looking at the sun without proper equipment will cause blindness.


Sunday, August 20 - Schedule of Events

  • 11:00AM - Eclipse Planetarium Show
  • 12:30PM - Celestial Motions Planetarium Show
  • 03:30PM - Eclipse Planetarium Show

Show Descriptions

Monday, August 21 the shadow of the Moon will sweep east-southeast across the United States from the Oregon coast, across Nebraska and Missouri, to Charleston, South Carolina. Millions of residents will be treated to one of nature’s rarest and most dramatic spectacles, a total solar eclipse. Outside the path of totality, everyone in this country, including New Englanders, will have the opportunity experience a partial eclipse of the sun.  


In anticipation of this event, Steve Maleski will present three half-hour planetarium programs at the museum on Sunday, August 20th to prepare you to fully appreciate it.  Each program will cover general eclipse mechanics:  Why, for instance, isn’t there a solar eclipse every new moon?; how to view an eclipse safely; and what this particular eclipse will look like here in northern Vermont.


Monday, August 21 - Schedule of Events

11:00 - 11:30 Eclipse Planetarium Show

12:00 - 12:30 Eclipse Planetarium Show

01:00 - 01:45  Welcome Planetarium Show with Bobby FR & Intro to Safety

01:45 - 02:30 Solar Telescope Viewing & Shoebox Solar Viewers & Kids Art Pinhole Projectors

02:30 - 02:50 Partial Solar Eclipse Viewing/Live Stream

03:00 - 03:30 Refreshments & Big Sun, Small Moon & Moonbear’s Shadow

3:30 - 4:00 Eclipse Planetarium Show with Mark Breen

Intro to Safety

It’s very dangerous and can cause serious damage to look directly into the sun. The same is true for total and partial solar eclipses. We’ll walk you through the safety of solar glasses, solar scopes, and how to properly use your own do-it-yourself solar viewing models! A solar safety booth will be provided throughout.


Solar Scope Viewing with Northern Skies Observatory

From solar funnels to a hydrogen-alpha telescopes, we’ll have a handful of scopes available for people to safely view the approaching partial eclipse one at a time. Our expert educators and scientists from the Northern Skies Observatory and the Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium will be here to help us understand why we see eclipses and much more!


Shoebox Models with the Athenaeum

Have a shoebox or two just laying around? We encourage you to bring yours to create your very own solar eclipse viewing model. Using tinfoil and paper, this model will give you a sensation of holding your very own telescope.


Kids Art Pinhole Projectors

Using cardboard, tinfoil, and paper, we’ll create projector-like effect viewing models to safely view this partial eclipse. We’ll get creative and spell our names, or even replicate our favorite constellations through fantastic works of pinhole art projectors.


Eclipse Viewing and Live Coverage

Join us from 2:30 to 2:50 as our town of St. Johnsbury experiences the approaching 66% partial solar eclipse. Curious what it might look like to those within 100% path of totality? We’ll also be projecting NASA’s live coverage within our main classroom.


Big Sun, Small Moon

What an experience it is to view a solar eclipse, partial or total. With this activity we’ll replicate the solar and lunar eclipses with miniature versions of Earth, Moon, and the Sun. Provided by the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE).


Moonbear’s Shadow Presentation

Introducing an all new planetarium presentation aimed at helping youngsters ages 3 - 7 understand that moving objects can create shadows. After, we’ll engage in demonstrating how children can create their own unique, ever moving shapes with shadows. Provided by the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE).



As we near the end of our event you can bring any lingering questions to our educators. We’ll also briefly cover the history of solar eclipses, like the last all american eclipse that occurred 99 years ago.


Eclipse Path

For more on the exact path of the eclipse through the United States, click here for a breakdown by Includes best spots to observe from and whether or not you'll need to wear solar filtered glasses during totallity. If you are staying in Vermont during the eclipse, stay tuned for more information about partial eclipse viewing at the museum, it'll be published on this page. If you have questions about the eclipse, please tweet at us and we will respond in a few minutes. 


Here’s every total solar eclipse happening in your lifetime. Is this year your best chance?​
The Washington Post has a number of 3D, manipulatable graphics that show you all the eclipses for roughly two centuries. With interactive maps and clear information, this is the site we recommend checking above all others.

Are your eclipse glasses safe?
Ordering eclipse glasses online does not guarentee that they are suitable for the viewing the sun. To make sure you haven't purchased a counterfeit pair, click the link above. Bear in mind that even if the glasses state on the side that they have ISO certificaiton, the maker may have simply printed that to sell more glasses. To avoid any possible danger, we recommend purchasing glasses from our gift shop where we carry American Paper optics paper and plastic glasses.

Eclipse Megamovie 
Use this handy website to simulate the Eclipse at your location and locations across the country. 

NASA Saftey Tips
Includes what to prepare for if you happen to be driving during the event!

Sky and Telescope’s safe eclipse viewing guide
You can view the partial eclipse safely and easily following the directions provided.

NASA Prepares for August 21st Total Solar Eclipse with Live Coverage
NASA has many resources prepared for during the eclipse.

Live Stream The Eclipse
NASA will be livestreaming the event.

Solar Eclipse 2017: What you need to know.

A total solar eclipse feels really really weird. You will literally cry.

Rapture Chasers - Gimlet Media podcast episode about what it is really like to view totality of a solar eclipse.

Beat the Crowds at the Total Eclipse: Go Camping

Traveling for the eclipse and need a detailed map with timing and locations?

State by state viewing guide.

Hopkinsville has become Eclipseville but can it handle the sea of humanity headed its way?

Rural towns in the eclipse’s path are bracing for a flood of smartphone-toting visitors
How to get the perfect eclipse shot using your smartphone.

The path of the solar eclipse is already altering real-world behavior

Here’s every total solar eclipse happening in your lifetime. Is this year your best chance?​

How to Tell If Your Eclipse Glasses or Handheld Solar Viewers Are Safe

Travel the path of the solar eclipse

An early total solar eclipse weather forecast as of August 7, 2017

Eclipse Photography: How to Frame the Eclipse

How to photograph and video the USA’s Total Solar Eclipse on August 21

US businesses chasing in on total solar eclipse crows