On August 21, 2017 we will get to experience a truly once-in-a-lifetime event. We are in the path of a solar eclipse, a dazzling celestial event when the shadow of the moon falls on the surface of the earth and is large enough to cover the sun. Unfortunately, a total solar eclipse will not be visible in Des Moines, but we will see a partial eclipse, which is still a spectacular sight. Here are events happening in the Des Moines area and beyond celebrating “The Great American Eclipse”.
Solar Eclipse Events Happening in Des Moines
The Altoona Public Library is hosting a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party. They will be passing out solar eclipse glasses, as well as having crafts and activities in their meeting room. Learn about the science of the sun and how a solar eclipse works.
You are invited to Total Eclipse at the Park with the Clive Public Library. Festivities begin with bring your own bag lunch/picnic. Stories and music will begin at 12:30 followed by the viewing of the eclipse around 1:00 p.m. Please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org so they can have plenty of goodies and solar eclipse glasses for everyone.
Franklin Avenue Library will host a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party. All participants are required to receive a mandatory safety viewing lesson and pair of protective glasses. Please bring lawn chairs, blankets, snacks, and plenty of water. In case of inclement weather, they will have a live feed of the eclipse from NASA in the Meeting Room.
Join the Grimes Public Library from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm for fun and interactive learning stations for all ages at their Solar Eclipse Day event.
The Indianola Public Library will be hosting Where Did It Go? A Solar Eclipse event. You can view the eclipse at the Library where they’ll have eclipse glasses available for when the time comes, and they will also have the big screen set up inside to view images and video from places where the eclipse is total.
Solar Eclipse Viewing Glasses Give-Away at the Johnston Public Library. The Library has 200 eclipse glasses available for patrons for FREE. These disposable glasses allow viewers to look directly at the eclipse without damaging their eyes. Beginning August 7, stop into the library to pick up a free pair.
It’s the event you’ve all been waiting for! Wondering where the best place is to check out the solar eclipse? Why, Doanes Park in Pleasant Hill of course. The Solar Eclipse Event with Mad Science of Iowa will provide FREE solar viewing glasses (while supplies last), and the eclipse will hit maximum degree at 1:08 pm, lasting about 2-3 minutes.
Stop by Fort Des Moines Park, Shelter #3 for a Solar Eclipse Party to see the eclipse safely through Polk County Conservation’s telescope and special viewing glasses. They’ll also have fun solar activities for the family starting at 11:30 am.
Join SCI and the Des Moines Astronomical Society at 11:45 am to view the 2017 partial solar eclipse! Staff and volunteers will provide telescopes with solar filters for the public to safely view the eclipse at the Iowa State Capitol.
Space enthusiasts (Kindergarten+) are welcome to attend a Solar Eclipse Viewing & Art event at the Waukee Public Library. There will be a short presentation and safe viewing instructions at 11:15 am, followed by the opportunity to create your own solar color-changing bead jewelry. At approximately 11:45, you will move outside to watch the eclipse. In case of inclement weather, they will view the eclipse from NASA’s live satellite locations on their large screen projector. Registration is required.
The West Des Moines Public Library will host a Partial Solar Eclipse Viewing. They will provide safe eclipse viewing glasses to the first 200 participants who arrive. Meet in the Community Room between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm to pick up the glasses then walk around the building to their “back yard” for viewing. Feel free to bring lawn chairs and blankets and make yourself comfortable! (Note: if the weather is cloudy or otherwise poor, the event will be canceled.)
Where to View a Total Eclipse
Following an arc from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast Atlantic, the total eclipse will be visible from 12 states including Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas. To see the totality, you’ll need to travel to one of the prime locations directly in the shadow’s path. The next total eclipse, which will be visible in the eastern US, won’t happen until 2024.
On Monday, August 21, 2017 Dallas County Conservation Board naturalists will be hosting an adult excursion to a natural area in northwest Missouri to view the total solar eclipse. The vehicles will leave Forest Park Museum, Perry at 7:30 a.m. and return around 5:30 p.m. Upon arrival, the naturalists will present some educational programming, as well as encourage people to enjoy the features of the park. The eclipse will start around 11:40 am with totality being reached at 1:08 pm. The trip is limited to 18 adults, although additional people or families with young children are welcome to caravan along in their own vehicles at no charge.
Take A Road Trip
If you really want to see a Total Eclipse, load up the car and head south. Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas are prime locations for viewing a total eclipse with duration times of over two minutes. For example, St. Joseph, MO should have totality for 2 minutes 38 seconds and Atchison, KS 2 minutes 17 seconds. Here are some great websites that provide more details on the best viewing spots and how to safely watch an eclipse.
- Eclipse.org2017 lists cities that lie in the path of totality.
- Great American Eclipse site is an on-line guide to understand, prepare for, and view this beautiful celestial event.
- NASA’s Total Eclipse website provides activities, events, broadcasts, and resources from NASA and their partners across the nation about the eclipse.
Will you stay in Des Moines to observe a partial eclipse or will you be traveling to see it in totality? Share your story in the comments.