The 2017 Solar Eclipse

For best viewing of the eclipse, we recommend that you check the maps below and find a location closer to the centerline. Hyde Observatory is within the path of totality, but is not ideally located for longest viewing time. You can view the eclipse from almost any location in or near Lincoln – so there’s no need to go to Hyde Observatory to view it.

Traffic could be heavy on eclipse day and for a day or two before and after. We recommend planning ahead and not staying too far from your preferred viewing location. See Predicting eclipse visitation with population statistics for more info.

See the Lincoln CVB page for local eclipse viewing events.

The Lincoln Journal Star has a guide to eclipse viewing locations.

Also provides information about events within Nebraska. To increase your clear-viewing odds, you might consult the featured map and find a convenient destination with a historically low chance (more blue) of thick clouds overhead during totality.

A nice article: Everything you need to know about the eclipse

Eclipsofile Quick-stop Weather – Eclipse day weather and cloud cover quick assessment

Here’s another nice google map overlay that can be used to plan your eclipse viewing.

Rick Brown’s Eclipse Countdown provides an easy way to get a countdown for your current location using a mobile device.

Hyde Observatory’s Eclipse Trailer

Fred Espenak’s Eclipse Viewing Guide

Safe Eclipse Viewing

Never look directly at the sun during the partial phases of the eclipse without eye protection!
The only time when it is safe to look at the sun is DURING the 1 or 2 minutes of totality, when the sun is entirely hidden by the moon.

Hyde Observatory is giving away free eclipse viewing glasses. Stop by Hyde on any Saturday evening to get your glasses (while supplies last; limit one pair per person). Also we have heard that glasses will be available for sale at local camera stores or you can buy them online through Amazon. We recommend the glasses from Thousand Oaks or Rainbow Symphony since they are known to be reputable suppliers with high quality standards.

Before you use your eclipse glasses check them carefully to make sure there are no scratches or pinholes that could allow direct sunlight to reach your eyes. Don’t store the glasses near sharp objects that could damage them.

It’s only safe to take off your eclipse glasses when the sun is completely hidden by the moon. If even a small sliver of sunlight is visible (called the “diamond ring effect”) that’s a sign that you MUST wear your eclipse glasses to protect your eyes from permanent damage.

Eclipse FAQ

Q: What is a total solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between you and sun, covering it completely for a very short time.

Q: What will I see at a total solar eclipse?

The entire sky will darken and you’ll be able to see the stars and the beautiful corona that surrounds the sun. The horizon will glow with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops, and day turns into night. It’s one of the most beautiful things you can ever see on earth.

You’ll be able to look right at the sun only when it’s completely covered. AT ALL OTHER TIMES, though – you must use special solar viewing glasses (also known as “eclipse glasses”) whenever the sun isn’t completely eclipsed. and shows you Stars come out,

Q: Aren’t these pretty common?
Well, one happens about every year or every other year, somewhere on earth. However, you have to be situated in a very narrow strip of land (called the ‘path of totality’) if you want to see the total phase of the eclipse. Otherwise, all you see (with your eclipse glasses, of course!) is a pretty boring partial eclipse. And that strip of land is generally VERY far off the beaten path – like Mongolia, or the Sahara desert, or the ocean somewhere. Very few people (as a percentage of the overall population) have ever seen a total solar eclipse.

Q: Wasn’t there just an eclipse of the sun in the USA not too many years ago?
The only total eclipses that have happened in the last 40 years in the US were in 1979 (in the northwest part of the country only) and 1991 (Hawaii only). Anything else you saw was only a partial (and there have been lots of these, like on Christmas Day 2000) or an annular eclipse (such as the one on May 10, 1994). Those are NOTHING compared to the absolutely amazing spectacle of a total eclipse!!!

Q: Will the eclipse look better through a telescope or binoculars?


Q: Where is the best location to see the eclipse?

Although the entire country will at least see a partial eclipse of the sun, to see the total eclipse, you must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is about 70 miles wide and will run the entire length of the country, crossing Nebraska from the Wyoming boarder, to Fall City.

You can see the total eclipse any place in the path of totality. However, the closer you are to the center line the longer the eclipse will be for you.

Q: I live in the path! Can I watch it from my house?

Absolutely!! You are incredibly lucky, and you should invite lots of friends over. An eclipse is even better if shared with a few hundred of your closest friends!

Q: What time will the eclipse happen where I am?

All you have to do to find out is to visit Xavier Jubier’s wonderful interactive Google map. (This link will take you to our page of instructions on how to use it.)

Q: Why does the sun have more damaging radiation during an eclipse than at any other time?

This is a myth. The sun always has an abundance of damaging radiation and is harmful to look out without the proper equipment. However, people are apt to look at the sun during an eclipse than on a normal day, so you’ll hear more stories about eye damage during an eclipse.

Q: As we approach total eclipse and during total eclipse, I presume the street lights in Lincoln will detect darkness and will turn on. If this is true, how will this effect viewing in the city. Do we need to get away from the artificial lighting?

Undoubtedly street lights and any other lights that rely upon photosensitive detectors for on/off will turn on. And being directly underneath one of these lights would diminish the eclipse experience, just as you wouldn’t want to try to look at a dark night sky from a street-lit location. So, if you have a back yard that isn’t normally lit up by streetlights, that would be preferable to a front yard exposed to artificial lighting. But it doesn’t become completely “night” dark during totality because the fringes of the horizon (outside the dark central shadow) still scatter light via the atmosphere into viewing locations in the path of totality. The “eery” characteristics of that light, peculiar to total eclipses, are part of the experience you don’t want to miss. So, avoid areas that are normally lit by artificial lights, but it is not necessary to flee the city for the full eclipse experience.