Viewing the Rare Eclipse with Dinosaurs at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

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Visitors crowded next to the dinosaurs peeking into The Children's Museum of Indianapolis so they could see the eclipse with special safety glasses. Before the viewing, science educators explained the phenomenon of the moon moving across the sun.

Viewing the solar eclipse at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Viewing the solar eclipse at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis alongside a couple of brachiosaurs.

Out-of-this-world exhibits including Beyond Spaceship Earth and the Schaefer Planetarium and Space Object Theater encourage our visitors to reach for the stars.

A rare total solar eclipse occurred August 21, 2017 and a couple thousand visitors at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis were able to watch it alongside dinosaurs peeking into the museum. Before the eclipse, science educators explained the phenomenon of the moon moving across the sun, which creates a nighttime experience in the middle of the afternoon.

Not since 1979 has a total solar eclipse occurred in the continental United States, and the next one won’t happen again until 2024. Although the path of totality crosses just south of Indianapolis in Kentucky, Hoosiers witnessed a significant eclipse beginning at 1:00 p.m. (EST), with the maximum eclipse hitting around 2:30 p.m. (EST).

Visitors to The Children’s Museum were provided with free, safe eclipse-viewing glasses and gathered together on museum grounds with staff scientists who explained the spectacle and answered questions from curious little learners and their grownups.

“Providing scientific context, content, and opportunities for our visitors to delve deeper into STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) is the exciting result of the museum’s recent establishment of the Heritage Group Center for Family Learning in STEM,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum. “Out-of-this-world exhibits including Beyond Spaceship Earth and the Schaefer Planetarium and Space Object Theater encourage our visitors to reach for the stars.”

Visitors to the museum’s STEMLab were able to participate in a special program called Shadow of the Moon, where they learned what causes this rare event, and how to view an eclipse safely. All participants received a pair of eclipse glasses. Both the Shadow of the Moon program and the opportunity to view the eclipse with museum science educators were free with general admission.

Viewers around the world were able to witness the rare phenomenon thanks to images captured before, during, and after the eclipse by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station – each offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event.

About The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. For more information about The Children's Museum, follow us on Twitter @TCMIndy, Instagram@childrensmuseum, YouTube.com/IndyTCM, and Facebook.

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Kimberly Harms
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
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