Want to know how rare the eclipse on Monday, August 21 will be? The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the contiguous United States was in 1979. The last time an eclipse crossed the entire U.S. was a century ago. Want to know when you can see the next one? On April 8, 2028, an eclipse will be visible on a path from Texas to Maine. But if you don’t want to wait that long, check out these places for viewing the 2017 total solar eclipse in NJ:
Head to the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan where they’ll view NASA’s live broadcast and Brian Levine, Manager of Youth Programs and Astrophysics Educator, will give a pop-up talk. Outside viewing will be available. The event runs from noon until 4 p.m. Seating is limited.
Liberty Science Center in Jersey City will be hosting a day of fun that includes telescopes and sun spotters, STEM team members on hand to answer questions, a solar eclipse model and explanation, a live broadcast from Cadiz, Kentucky (one of the locations where the eclipse will be total), Sun Globe Racing in inflatable hamster balls, space crafts and a special 4:45 p.m. showing of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Events kick off at 10:00 a.m.
The 3M Observatory at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg will have telescopes on their lawn for public viewing from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Looking for a little DIY family eclipse adventure? The boat launch or the field across from the playground in the Ridgefield Park section of Overpeck County Park offers plenty of space and extra entertainment for the little ones. Pack a picnic (What to bring for dessert? Moon pies, of course!) and don’t forget your telescope, eclipse activity guide and please check out these tips for safe viewing glasses so you can watch the eclipse without damaging your eyes.
Need to get a little closer to the action? At Ramapo Mountain State Park in Oakland you can multitask before the big event with a hike to either the Lake Loop or the Wanaque Ridge trail for optimal viewing. Bring along binoculars and watch for animal behavior. It has been said that during past eclipses, cows would return to their barns, bird activity would be high leading up to the eclipse then would suddenly become completely silent during totality, mosquitoes and bats would appear and spiders would destroy their webs. If you’d like to help document unusual animal behavior, join the Nature Responds project and record your observations with the iNaturalist app.
What could be better than watching the Solar Eclipse from the water? Classic Harbor Line is offering several options for unobstructed viewing from their schooners as they sail around New York Harbor. Bring a light snack or picnic, enjoy complimentary beer, wine, champagne or soda from the bar and don’t forget your protective eyewear. Boats will depart from Pier 62 at 1:15 and 1:30. Reservations are required.
Or, if you’d rather just watch the eclipse from the comfort of your own home, check out this guide to the eclipse in your zip code, cuddle up with Total Eclipse, Annie Dillard’s “masterpiece of literary nonfiction,” and watch the NASA live stream of the eclipse from NASA research aircraft, astronauts aboard the International Space Station, high-altitude balloons, satellites and specially-modified telescopes. You will also see live reports from cities that are in the band of total darkness. Want some more themed food ideas? Munch on (what else?) crescent roll sandwiches, Sun Chips and Milky Way bars. Then wash it all down with a Capri Sun or a Blue Moon beer!
Whatever you decide to do, be safe and remember to take the time to be amazed and awed by this only-a-few-times-in-a-lifetime event. Have fun!