2017 Solar Eclipse

Eclipse  Conference Information

ASTROCON News Release 8-2013

Click here to watch a video about the eclipse.

Be Part of Solar Research – Draw the Corona!

Solar eclipses provide scientists with some of their best opportunities to study the corona, the ring of plasma that surrounds the sun. When the moon completely covers the sun, the corona becomes visible as a white ring around the sun.   It’s not a smooth ring, however.   You can see solar flares and prominences stretching out away from the sun’s surface at some points.  In some places plasma may appear to erupt outwards and then loop back toward the sun’s surface. Other spots may seem calm and quiet.   Before the development of photography, scientists made drawings of what they observed. Of course, each person’s drawing was a bit different, so one way to get a more accurate image was to take multiple drawings and layer them on top of one another to form a composite image.

During the eclipse of 1860, six scientists recorded these drawings of the corona, which were then combined to make a single, more detailed image:



We’re going to do that same thing here in Casper.   You can pick up a template of the sun, marked off into 12 equal sections, at the Planetarium, or download one HERE and print it.   On eclipse day, during the totality (when the sun is completely covered by the moon), draw the corona as you see it. Then return your sheet to the Planetarium by August 28th and we’ll include your drawing in our composite image project.


Safely Viewing the Solar Eclipse

Don’t make the eclipse the last thing you ever see.   Looking at the sun without special eye protection can cause permanent eye damage or even blindness.   Sunglasses, even multiple pairs on top of each other, won’t do the job.

If you attempt to look directly at the sun, your eyes instinctively close to protect themselves. Using homemade filters such as negative film or smoked glass can block enough of the glare to allow your eyes to stay open at least briefly, but they don’t block the infrared rays that damage the eye – so these homemade filters are actually dangerous.   To look directly at the sun, you need special eclipse glasses (these are inexpensive and available at many locations throughout Casper) or a welder’s eye shield with a rating of 14 or higher.


Eye protection is also essential if you are using a camera, binoculars, or telescope to observe the eclipse. These items focus and magnify the light rays they receive, so they can damage unprotected eyes even more quickly than looking directly at the sun.   A professional solar filter is required to use these items safely.

You can also view the eclipse safely by using a simple pinhole projector.   Poke a small hole in a piece of stiff cardboard, and have another piece of cardboard that is plain white.   Stand so the sun’s light is falling over your shoulder from behind you.   Hold the card with the hole in it up so the light passes through the hole, and hold the plain white piece underneath it so the light forms a dot on it. Move the two pieces closer together or farther apart until the edges of the dot are sharp and clear.   Then watch that dot … you’ll see it gradually disappear, then reappear, as the eclipse proceeds.   You can see the same effect by using anything that has a hole in it, like a kitchen colander or slotted spoon, and holding it so the light passes through the holes and makes dots on the sidewalk or ground.


2017 Summer Astronomy Camps

2017Camp Registration form


Basic 2017 Total Solar Eclipse information for Casper

The following pdf files were created from our eclipse brochure.  You will find basic information about the approximate the times of first contact and totality of the eclipse as well as various phenomena to watch for.Eclipse brochure pg 1 03082017 for web


Important link to the Wyoming eclipse festival

Here is a link to the Wyoming Eclipse Festival page that should give you all the information you need to know about what will be happening in Casper leading up to the eclipse on August 21.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eclipse: The Sun Revealed


Tuesday through Friday at 11:00 am and 4:00 pm
Saturday at 7:00 pm
30 minute program

Entirely Live

Available for private program.

Run time: 45 minutes.
Appropriate for 8 and up.

$3.00 per person.

Experience an entirely live tour of the night sky including stars, planets, and stories about the constellations by a planetarium staff member.


Heart of the Sun

Saturdays at 8:00 pm

$3.00 per person
Run Time: 35 minutes
Recommended for ages 8 and up