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People wearing protective glasses looking up at an eclipse

Eclipse Extravaganza in Pittsburgh!

April 8, 2024

Get ready for the ultimate cosmic carnival at the Science Center, your go-to spot to catch the solar eclipse in Pittsburgh on Mon., April 8! Dive into the spectacle with our special solar observation gear, featuring a mind-blowing solar telescope. Witness the magic with live footage streamed from NASA on the Buhl Planetarium dome and join numerous solar eclipse activities for the entire family. Plus, snag a complimentary 3D-printed pinhole projector with your general admission ticket. It’s an eclipse like never before!

Eclipse Timeline for Pittsburgh

Eclipse starts: 2 pm
Eclipse ends: 4:30 pm
Maximum eclipse: 3:17 pm

Safety is important!

Eye safety is a top priority when observing a solar eclipse. Staring at the Sun with the unaided eye can cause eye damage. Even a brief glimpse of the Sun through unfiltered telescopes or binoculars can cause blindness. Always use proper filters or safe solar projection techniques, and make sure your eclipse glasses are certified. ISO certified glasses will be labeled with ISO 12312-2 or ISO 12312:2015. Be sure to check that your eclipse glasses are not damaged or scratched before use. Regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes.

Create pinhole projector (PDF). opens in a new window

Photo credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

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Shop online and pick up your glasses in the XPLOR Store!

Photo credit: NASA/GSFC/CI Lab

Schedule of Events

Come see this once-in-a-lifetime celestial event at the Science Center! The next total solar eclipse in the contiguous United States won’t occur until 2044.

The Main Event – Eclipse Viewing

Eclipse Viewing: 1:59– 4:30 pm 
Max totality: 3:17 pm

Pittsburghers will experience an excellent viewing perspective of the eclipse, with the Moon covering approximately 97% of the Sun. Sunlight will dim for a few minutes, but the sky will not go dark. Experience the eclipse rain or shine with a host of activities throughout the day:

Buhl Planetarium

11 am–1 pm: Solar Eclipse Programming

2 pm: NASA Live Feed (Rainy Day Option)
Live stream of solar eclipse in Path of Totality by NASA.

The Rangos Giant Cinema

10 am–5 pm: NASA Live Feed – Ongoing
Live stream of solar eclipse in Path of Totality by NASA.

BodyStage 

10 am–1 pm: Theater programs until 1pm

Live NASA Feed (Rainy Day Option)
Live stream of solar eclipse in Path of Totality by NASA.

Works Theaters

Space-themed Shows:

Earth & Friends

Soar through the Solar System in our Works Theater! Early learners will explore space chemistry as they visit Earth and its the other major planets and learn why Earth has the right stuff for life!

It Came From Outer Space

Blast off with explosive experiments as we discover how technology developed to solve problems in space makes our lives better on Earth. Learn which things you use every day are actually Space Age inventions!

Live NASA Feed

Live stream of solar eclipse in Path of Totality by NASA.

Check out eclipse-themed demos throughout the Science Center. On the portico, weather-permitting, build a pinhole projector out of a box and decorate eclipse glasses holders commemorating the special event.

Path of Totality

The Path of Totality is the Moon’s moving shadow. The Moon’s shadow has two parts, a faint outer shadow called the penumbra, and a darker inner shadow called the umbra. The path of totality is simply the path of the umbra and where one can view the total eclipse.

Eclipses, even partial, are only visible within the penumbra, but total eclipses are only visible within the smaller path of the umbra.

FAQs

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse is what happens when the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up so the Sun’s light is blocked by the Moon, either fully or partially.

During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes in between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth called the umbra.

When do solar eclipses happen?

Solar eclipses are most likely during a period called “eclipse season” when the orbits of the Moon, Earth and Sun are lined up in the same plane- these seasons happen twice a year and last up to 34 days.

When does the eclipse start in Pittsburgh?

The eclipse starts in Pittsburgh around 2 pm, when the Sun is almost directly overhead. Maximum eclipse occurs approximately 78 minutes later at 3:18 pm. This is when the sky will reach it darkest point for a little over two minutes. The eclipse ends at 4:30 pm.

What are the different types of eclipses?

Annular: When the Moon eclipses the Sun at its furthest point from Earth. The Moon looks smaller and doesn’t cover the sun fully creating a “ring of fire” effect.

Partial: Moon and Sun are not fully aligned, people outside the Moon’s shadow or path of totality will see a partial eclipse.

Total: When the Moon fully blocks the Sun’s light, people in the path of totality will see a total eclipse, the sky darkens, and the Sun’s corona is visible.

Why do we study solar eclipses?

Solar eclipses offer a unique opportunity for scientists to study the Sun. During a solar eclipse the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona is easier to see without the Sun’s light in the way.

Scientists also use eclipses to study the Sun’s magnetic fields, observing solar wind and the Sun’s effects on our atmosphere.