OMSI Solar Eclipse Viewing Party

August 21, 2017 | 6 AM – 12 PM at Oregon State Fairgrounds

TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT! Visit for more opportunities.

2017 Solar Eclipse





On August 21, 2017, Oregon will be the first to see the total eclipse of the Sun. Join OMSI at the Oregon State Fairgrounds where we will celebrate the unique experience of complete darkness for close to two minutes. The Solar Eclipse Viewing Party will include science lectures, astronomy-related community groups, entertainment, and more.


  • Tickets are sold out and the waiting list is full!
  • - Visit Travel Salem for other happenings in the area or National Eclipse.
  • - Tickets include a seat in the L.B. Day Amphitheater, a solar eclipse viewer, and a ticket to the 2017 Oregon State Fair, Aug 25-Sept 4, 2017. You MUST use a solar eclipse viewer to watch this extraordinary event.
  • - Viewing Party is rain or shine; all tickets are non-refundable. OMSI relies on the weather forecast from the National Weather Service.

Planning Your Visit

Location and Directions
How to Find Us

The Solar Eclipse Viewing Party will be located at the L.B. Day Amphitheatre at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301. See fairgrounds map.

Parking will be available at the fairgrounds for $5 per vehicle; cash only. Limited RV parking will be available. See driving directions.

Travel time: The current estimated time to travel from Portland to Salem is 2.5 hours. (Oregon is expected to see over 1 million visitors for the solar eclipse.)

Visitor Information
Food, Drink, and Lodging
  • Food and drink will be available starting at 6am. No outside food or drink allowed; refillable water bottles will be permitted.
  • RV camping reservations are available through the Oregon State Fairgrounds by clicking here. If you have any questions, call 971.701.6567
    • Visit the Travel Salem website for hotel recommendations.
  • The L.B. Day Amphitheatre has open-air, stadium seating for the viewing. Please plan accordingly. Seat cushions will be allowed. Souvenir eclipse merchandise including t-shirts, mugs, keychains, etc. will be available for purchase at the event.
  • No pets are allowed at the event. Service dogs are welcome.

Due to the number of guests attending the event, we are not allowing personal telescopes or 3-legged tripods into the event. If you have a single pole, monopod those are allowed. Solar telescope viewing will be available at the event in the Rose City Astronomers booth.

Schedule of Events
The Solar Eclipse Viewing Party will include science lectures, astronomy-related community groups, entertainment, and more.

Throughout the morning, learn about space and sun science from our partners:

  • - Eclipse Party Ham Radio Connection
  • - Franz Bakeries / Portland Baked Grilled Cheese Machine
  • - Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
  • - Iceovation
  • - LIGO
  • - NASA
  • - OHSU Casey Eye Institute
  • - Oregon High School Solar Car Team
  • - Rose City Astronomers
  • - University of Oregon
  • - The Viking Mars Missions Education & Preservation Project


6:00am | Doors Open

6:30am | Cavernous Craters and Satellite Shadows, with OMSI Educators Ian Sterry and Matt Miller

7:00am | 'In the Shadow' with Jim Todd, Director of Space Science Education at OMSI

7:30am | 'How Solar Eclipses Enable Scientific Discovery' with Jim Brau, Philip H. Knight Professor of Natural Science in the Center for High Energy Physics at the University of Oregon

8:00am | 3, 2, 1…Blast Off! with OMSI Educators Ian Sterry and Matt Miller

8:30am | 'Chasing the Shadow from the International Space Station' with Don Pettit, PhD, NASA astronaut

9:05am | First Contact (Partial Eclipse)
Eclipse begins. Portland Taiko will introduce key eclipse moments with drum performances.

10:17am | Total Eclipse Begins
Duration:1min, 53sec

10:18am | Maximum Totality

10:19am | Total Eclipse Ends

10:25am | Eclipse Recap and Audience Q&A with Jim Todd, Jim Brau, and Don Pettit

11:37am | Last Contact (Partial Eclipse)
Eclipse ends

12:00pm | Event ends

Supported By

Looking for more space science?

Explore Eclipse 2017 and beyond with OMSI.

About the Eclipse

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. See detailed map of the eclipse path in Oregon.

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 53 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. South Carolina will be the last state to witness the eclipse and 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. Viewing Party tickets include solar viewing glasses. Solar eclipse glasses are currently available for purchase in the OMSI Science Store for guests unable to attend the viewing party. Watch our video on 5 ways to safely view the eclipse.

Eclipse Resources

Classroom Activities and Resources for Educators

  • NASA Eclipse Simulation: Students discover relative relationships between the Sun, Earth, and Moon, and how the Moon can eclipse the Sun.
  • Bob Miller’s Light Walk: Bob Miller, a former exhibit builder at The Exploratorium, explores the dynamics of light and how our eyes can see the world through a pinhole of a pupil and how we can take advantage of this to make a pinhole camera that will let us see the world, in particular sun and solar eclipses. Watch a video of one of his famous Light Walks.
  • NASA Wavelength: A full spectrum of NASA resources for Earth and space science education.
  • Eclipse in a Different Light: A Sun-Earth Day page for educators presented by NASA.


OMSI Events
(503) 797-4529