Partial Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at OMSI

Eclipse 2017 event logo

Join us for a free Partial Solar Eclipse Viewing Party in Portland on OMSI's Front Plaza. Enjoy space science activities, refreshments from the Empirical Cafe and purchase your eclipse viewing glasses* from OMSI's Science Store.


The main event will begin with first contact around 9:06 AM, the maximum partial solar eclipse of 99.1% will be at 10:19 AM, and last contact will be 11:38 AM.  Space science activities will include Sun Printing, Sunflower Dissection, Solar Panels, Naturalist Books, and more. NASA TV will be playing all morning in the auditorium. The planetarium will have a special showing of Totality at 9:30am and will be on its regular schedule starting at 11am (tickets required). We will also be playing a special soundtrack by All Classical Portland curated especially for the total solar eclipse to complement and enhance this spectacular natural event.


The viewing party is free; standard parking rates apply ($5).


*Please note: You MUST use a solar eclipse viewer to watch throughout this extraordinary event. Solar viewing glasses are available for purchase in the OMSI Science Store for $4.99 each, while supplies last. There will be a limited quantity available on Monday morning.


For more information, call 503.797.4536 or email


The partial solar eclipse viewing party is supported by the locally owned McDonald’s of OR and SW WA.


About the Eclipse

A partial solar eclipse is still spectacular to view, even at 99% in Portland! 


Viewed from OMSI, viewers will notice a pronounced dimming of sunshine, but it will still be distinctly daylight. The main phenomena that viewers will notice is that shadows will become very crisp. People will notice fascinating pinhole projections of the crescent Sun when standing near trees.  Another phenomena is that Venus will be easy to see around the time of maximum eclipse, and the sky will be noticeably darker in the direction of the Moon's shadow.  It is possible to have a chance of seeing shadow bands, and also a chance of seeing a corona if the remaining portion of the Sun is occluded by a thumb or building.


A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves right in front of the sun, covering it completely for a very short time. It darkens the whole sky, lets you look right at the sun*, and shows you the beautiful corona that surrounds the sun. Stars come out, the horizon glows with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops, and day turns into night. Oregon is on the center line and several cities around the state will experience maximum totality.


On the beach in Oregon, just north of Newport, the shadow will first touch land at about 10:15am, and will experience a full minute and fifty seconds of totality.  The actual centerline of the eclipse path will hit solid ground six seconds later, and plunge Lincoln Beach and Depoe Bay into darkness for one minute and 58 seconds!


It will take only two minutes for the shadow to race eastward toward its first date with a large population of folks who will be breathlessly awaiting its arrival. Salem, Dallas, Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Philomath, McMinnville, and Woodburn, will experience various lengths of totality based on their varying distances from the centerline. At the Oregon State Fairgrounds, we will be treated to one minute and 54.5 seconds of shadow at just after 10:17am.


The eclipse will travel through the forests of central Oregon, hitting the mountains at Madras and Warm Springs at about 10:19am. Mitchell and Prairie City will be next, and the shadow will leave Oregon just north of Ontario. The majority of the Pacific Northwest, including Portland and Eugene, are NOT in the path of totality, will witness a partial eclipse ranging from 88% to 99%.


The eclipse will continue across the United States where Illinois will experience the longest eclipse duration at two minutes and 41 seconds. The final shadow will be over the Atlantic Ocean near the west coast of Africa. See a map of the full eclipse path.


*Note: Only look at the sun when it is 100% covered. You must use special solar viewing glasses whenever the sun isn’t completely eclipsed or it may cause irreparable eye damage. The OMSI store has viewing glasses for sale. Watch our video on 5 ways to safely view the eclipse.