Pre-Eclipse Block Party

Get ready for the great North American eclipse that occurs on August 21, 2017—people across the U.S. will be able to see a partial to total eclipse of the Sun! (Most Minnesotans will experience around 80% totaltity.)

Prepare for this rare sight one week ahead of the big show! Enjoy University of Minnesota scientist talks (see below), hands-on activities, solar telescope observing, and free mini ExploraDome planetarium shows! Also, pick up your own pair of solar viewing glasses (while supplies last). Learn everything you'll need to know to safely catch your view of the eclipse—no matter where you might be on August 21.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

12:00 - 3:00 pm
Minneapolis Campus
Physics & Nanotechnology Building
Akerman Hall - Balas Atrium
Keller Hall - Room 3-210
Outdoor space near Scholars Walk 


Science Talks

Talks will be approximately 20 minutes in length with time for Q&A at the end.

12:30 - A Rare Look at the Sun's Corona
Lindsay Glesener, Physics and Astronomy

Solar eclipses are beautiful and fascinating events, and they also offer rare opportunities to study the elusive corona -- the outermost layer of the Sun's atmosphere. With a temperature hundreds of times greater than that of the Sun's surface, the mysterious corona is governed by strong magnetic fields that control all structure and motion. Explore the fascinating nature of the outer layers of the Sun and learn how you can contribute to solar science while you view the eclipse!

1:00 & 2:00 - Live-Stream the Eclipse from the Stratosphere
James Flaten, Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics

NASA’s Space Grant Consortia--representing 30 states--are fielding teams of college students to develop light-weight video-telemetry systems to live stream the view of the shadow of the Moon from the stratosphere. On August 21, over 50 ballooning teams will fly into the eclipse's path of totality from Oregon all the way to South Carolina. The U of M stratospheric ballooning team will be on hand to show off flight units, ground station hardware, and talk about their preparations for this nationwide project.

1:30 - Einstein & The Eclipse of 1919
Michel Janssen, Physics & History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Measurements made during the solar eclipse of May 29, 1919 made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic--scientists found  that gravity bends light. This announcement was in agreement with the predictions of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity. Overnight, Einstein, already well-known among physicists, became the world's first and greatest scientific superstar.


Mini ExploraDome Shows

Inside the ExploraDome

Get ready to explore the universe as you never have before in our immersive (and portable) planetarium! Free tickets will be given out on a first come first served basis starting at 12:00 & 1:00 pm. Shows start every 20 minutes beginning at 12:20 pm.


Special thanks to our event cohosts from the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Department, and the College of Science and Engineering.

2017 eclipse path

This map shows the globe view of the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. Learn more at NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio.

Parking & More

There are several nearby parking ramps (standard rates apply). Recommended options:

Washington Avenue Ramp
University Avenue Ramp
Church Street Garage

Public art on campus

Nearby sights

The event is near the University's Stadium Village area, with a variety of coffee shops, restrauants, and more. The Northrop Plaza and McNamara Alumni Center are also great spots to enjoy an outdoor picnic.

Explore the U's famous Scholar's Walk memorial & Wall of Discovery, which runs along the event sites.

Public art is featured prominently across campus including several large installations just around the corner, like Spannungsfeld, shown above.