photo of partially eclipsed sun through clouds

Great American Eclipse 2017

On Monday 21 August 2017 the entire United States will get a chance (weather-permitting) to see a partial solar eclipse. For those in (or traveling into) a narrow path that traverses the country, there will also be a total eclipse visible. We are not in that path!
YOU MUST USE APPROPRIATE PRECAUTIONS WHEN OBSERVING THE SUN! This means wearing approved eclipse glasses, having appropriate filters in front of any optics (camera lenses, binoculars, telescopes), and checking filters for manufacturing defects or damage from handling or mishandling. Regular sunglasses are meant to reduce the glare around you, not for looking at the sun. Eyepiece filters or filters placed behind optics can be damaged by the focused light of the sun and break during observing making them dangerous. Eye damage is serious. It is very easy to get eye damage if you don't follow instructions. If you follow instructions and are careful, you can safely observe the sun.

Partial Eclipse Viewing

THERE IS NO PARKING AVAILABLE FOR THIS EVENT! If you work on campus or live within walking distance, great. But unfortunately, there is no other visitor parking nearby. You do not need to go anywhere to see the partial eclipse! We do not have a monopoly. There are safe ways to observe by making a pinhole camera and just staying at home or from your office. You can also observe the shadows cast by trees, a colander or grater to watch the partial eclipse.

The UMD Astronomy Department and Observatory will hold a simple, lowkey observing session on Monday 21 Aug 2017 from 1-3pm on the plaza beneath the Physical Science Complex (PSC) ellipse on UMD's College Park campus. We have a limited number of eclipse glasses to handout and will have telescopes to safely observe the partially eclipsed sun.
+ The viewing session will get canceled if it is too cloudy!
+ This event is on campus. There will be NO viewing at the Observatory.


There is no visitor parking nearby! This is just a small program with a very small volunteer crew. You do not need to come to campus to see the eclipse! If you see the sun and have eclipse glasses, then you can observe the eclipse from anywhere. And you know what? You don't need eclipse glasses!! Instead of stressing on finding eclipse glasses, try making pinhole projectors. That is the safest way of watching the partial phases of the eclipse and it's a great craft project for the kids. You can Google and find lots of instructions and variations:
I'm working on one where the holes in the paper spell out words.
In fact, you don't entirely need to make anything, you can just take a colander or grater outside and look at the shadow it casts on the ground!

Eclipse Links

Day of Webcasts


The majority of our faculty and students will be traveling to go see the total eclipse. Many are already gone and the rest are leaving over the next few days. If you have questions, you need to email warnerem[at]astro[dot]umd[dot]edu ASAP!

Eclipse glasses

We have an extremely limited number left and are saving them for our event on Monday 21 Aug. One per person while supplies last.

Whether you use one of our glasses or other legitimate eclipse glass, it is imperative that you still check them for any minor manufacturing defects or damages (any sort of light leak!) that may have been incurred in handling (or mishandling) them in the intervening time from when you got them until you use them.

Open House on 20 Aug

We've had to cancel the Open House the night before on Sun 20 Aug because we will be too short on staffing. The guest speaker will be rescheduled.


Check out our Google calendar!!