Education, Family Travel, Things To Do

A New Orleans solar eclipse with the kids!

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and earth (when they are perfectly aligned) and casts a ‘moon-shadow’ ( called the Umbra Zone!) on the earth. When we are in the path of the shadow, we see an eclipse- which can have different degrees of totality. If we’re lucky enough and the sky is clear, observers in the ‘path of totality’ will be able to see the moon completely cover the sun revealing the sun’s corona, the sun’s outermost atmosphere. It will look as if there is a black hole in the sky. Day will turn into night and temps will drop.Viewers outside the path ( like here in NOLA) will only see a partial eclipse instead. 

When is the eclipse in New Orleans?

For the majority of the New Orleans area, the eclipse will start at 11:57 am on Monday August 21st. The end game, of course, is when the eclipse will be the fullest at approx. 1:29 pm and then as the moon continues its journey, it will will finely end at approx. 2:57 pm. 

Tips to view the eclipse

First things first- never look directly into the sun- or the eclipse as seen from New Orleans without protecting your eyes.

When IS it safe to look directly at an eclipse? Believe it or not, you can view the eclipse safely- but only while it is a TOTAL eclipse- not before or after. So for us in New Orleans, the answer would be never– as we won’t get a total eclipse.

Don’t even think about using regular sunglasses since they won’t be safe at all! Make sure to buy your ISO certified sunglasses from a reputable vendor such as those recommended here by the Astronomical Society of America. Avoid getting something from China, as you can’t be sure the glasses have been tested. When you get your glasses, make sure you inspect them for any holes and scratches.

No solar eclipse glasses? Make a pinhole projector!  Sunlight streaming through the hole will cast an image of the sun on a screen. This NASA webpage has great resources on how you can make one.  

Where to see a TOTAL eclipse: well, not here in NOLA- we’ll only see approximately a 75% eclipse. The closest place to us is the Nashville area, which is about an 8 hour drive. 

UNO Viewing party!

Activities begin at 10:30 a.m., presentations start at 12:30 p.m. and viewing will take place at 1:20 p.m.

Where: Earl K. Long Library (No. 11 on the campus map. Viewing will take place in the Quad, on the Lakeside of the library.

Who: UNO astrophysicist Greg Seab and math instructor Joel Webb will give presentations about the solar eclipse prior to viewing. The event is free and open to the public.  

Details: Beginning at 10:30 a.m., NASA’s livestream of the solar eclipse will be shown in the Privateer Pride Room, on the first floor of the Earl K. Long Library. There will be snacks, door prizes and a selfie station with props. The partial eclipse will start at 11:57 a.m. At 12:30 p.m. UNO math instructor Joel Webb will give a presentation on the eclipse. At 12:45 p.m., UNO professor and astrophysicist Greg Seab will give a presentation.

At 1:20 p.m., visitors will be invited to go out to the Quad to view the eclipse. The library will have a limited amount of solar viewing glasses and pin projectors available. The eclipse ends at 2:57 p.m.

Ogden Museum Viewing Party

time: 11:30- 1:30 pm.

Join the Ogden Museum for our Solar Eclipse viewing party! Stop by the museum on August 21st from 11:30am to 1:30pm to witness the Solar Eclipse from our rooftop terrace. We’ll have waters and soft drinks for sale, viewing glasses for purchase, and La Cocinita food truck will be out in front of the museum selling delicious bites! So come on by during your lunch break and witness this once in a lifetime event from the roof of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Entry and glasses are free for members.

General admission will be 1/2 off during the party. Not a member? Join during our summer membership drive and receive 25% off!

Where else to view the eclipse in New Orleans?

Because this eclipse will occur midday- you can pretty much see it anywhere, but here are a few suggestions.

Lafayette Square 

Ace Hotel- rooftop

The big lake in City Park

the Fly at Audubon park ( along the river) 

Woldenberg Park 

Algiers Point- Miss river trail

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