A look at places to watch the solar eclipse across the Triangle


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With the total solar eclipse just a week away, you may be looking for something fun for you and your family to do to view the big event safely.

If you’re planning on staying in central North Carolina, several local places will be holding eclipse celebrations to help you get the most out of the one-in-a-lifetime experience.

Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill will be holding a solar eclipse party from noon to 4:30 p.m. as part of the larger 2017 Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party event.

“Here at Morehead, we will have a viewing event in the afternoon of Monday, August 21.  There will be shows inside the planetarium.  Those do require tickets to go to.  The ticket comes with a free pair of eclipse glasses.  And then we will have other activities going on outside and inside the building such as a live stream of the eclipse and also viewing of the eclipse with eclipse glasses and other educational activities,” says Amy Sayle, astronomy education director at Morehead Planetarium.

Advance tickets for the eclipse presentations in the Planetarium have sold out, but the gift shop will remain open to sell solar eclipse glasses and memorabilia.

Visitors are still welcome to participate in other activities that will be offered.

The staff at Morehead estimates that around 5,000 visitors will stop by to view the eclipse.

But the staff recommends traveling to the path of totality if you have the means to do so.

“The one thing I would say is I really encourage people, although we would love to see people come here on the day of the eclipse, if you are able to get yourself to the path of totality, it will be well worth it.  You will remember it for the rest of your life,” says Sayle.

Click here for more information on Morehead’s eclipse plans

Duke Gardens in Durham will also be hosting their first astronomy-themed event in its history to view the eclipse from noon to 5 p.m.  The event is free and will offer various activities for all ages.

“We’re just excited about the opportunity to connect solar science and celestial science with the plants that are growing here in the garden and use it as a way to engage with people, introduce them to the garden potentially, and also just have a lot of fun learning about what’s happening with the solar eclipse,” says Kavanah Anderson, Education Program Director at Duke Gardens.  “We’ll have some books, some listening stations.  Basically a number of different activities to explore and think about the way that we see, the way that light affects our bodies, the living things around us, particularly the plants that you can see around us in the garden.”

The event at Duke Gardens is free but parking will be limited.  Eclipse glasses will also be given away to those who attend the event, but Duke Gardens cannot guarantee that there will be enough for everyone who attends.

In Raleigh, N.C. State University is buzzing with anticipation for their solar eclipse event on the Brickyard from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“We’ll have a live stream from along the path of totality from NASA that people will be able to see where it actually goes and completely covers the sun.  And then we’re going to have all kinds of, you know, fun activities, so bean bag toss games, and we’ll have live music and we’ll be giving away food and ice cream and of course, water so that people stay cool,” says Holly Menninger, director of Public Science for the College of Sciences at N.C. State.

The event is free and will offer safe ways to view the eclipse including free eclipse glasses, a telescope with a solar filter and a station to create your own pinhole cameras.  The N.C. State Sounding Club will be launching a weather balloon during the eclipse to monitor changes in the atmosphere.

Food and water tents will also be set up in addition to games, misting tents and other demonstrations.

Whether you’re planning on heading to the path of totality or attending one of the many events going on around central North Carolina to view the eclipse, its important that you view it safely.  And one thing is definitely for sure, there will be no shortage of fun activities for you and your family to take part in on August 21st.

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