Solar Eclipse 2017: The New Jersey Viewing Guide

On the afternoon of Monday August 21st the country will bear witness to not just any old solar eclipse, but the “Great American Solar Eclipse.” The last solar eclipse was 38 years ago, but that was only visible to parts of the country. The last eclipse that went coast-to-coast was in 1918, 99 years ago. So in short, this is kind of a big deal.

Naturally the reaction by most people is to wonder how the eclipse will look from where they are. Unfortunately, it’s not a given you’ll be graced with a view of a full-on solar eclipse. If you’re in South Carolina, you’re in good shape, great shape actually. But if you’re somewhere else, like the wonderful state of New Jersey, it’s a different story.

Given the path of the eclipse, the Garden State is likely to see only 75% of the sun being blocked out. Although to be fair, that’s still 75% more than it normally is. When it comes to an eclipse, you take what you can get.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to viewing the “Great American Solar Eclipse” in New Jersey.

1. The Eclipse Trajectory Isn’t Great for New Jersey

The 2017 eclipse is set to run from the United States’ southeastern corner to it’s northwestern corner. As a result, New Jersey’s eclipse will be a 75% blockage. Somehow that’s less than the state’s neighbors, with Philadelphia looking at about 80% of the sun being blocked and New York City experiencing 77% of the sun being blocked. New Jersey just can’t catch a break, even when it comes to something as a rare as solar eclipse.

2. When Will the Eclipse Happen?

According to Kevin D. Conod, who is the planetarium manager and astronomer at the Newark Museum’s Dreyfuss Planetarium in Newark, New Jersey, the eclipse will start at 1:22 p.m. It’ll then run about a hour and a half, finishing up at 2:45 p.m. Not to be stereotypical, but I just checked and the average Bruce Springsteen album has a running time of an hour and fifteen minutes, so if you worried about picking a soundtrack for the eclipse, this could be an easy fix. All in all, the eclipse will be over by 4 p.m., just in time to head home for the day.

3. Where is the Best Place in New Jersey to Watch It

It doesn’t seem like there’s one or two places in specific that offer up better views than others. If you’re in North Jersey, it’s likely you’ll have the same view and the same results as your cousin who lives down by the Pine Barrens. This should actually be somewhat of a relief for the good people of New Jersey, as you don’t have to worry about going to one place in particular. You don’t even need to take time off from work to see the eclipse provided you have a forgiving and/or eclipse-enthusiast boss.

With that being said, there are some spots in New Jersey that are making the most of the eclipse and organizing viewing parties. Here are some you should think about.

Solar Eclipse Viewing Parties in New Jersey

Liberty Science Center in Jersey City

Paul Hoffman, the CEO of the Liberty Science Center has said that the center is “pulling out all the stops” for Monday’s eclipse. Starting at 10 a.m., there will be telescopes and sun spotters available, as well as LSC staff on hand to answer all of your eclipse-related questions. There will also be a Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon light show starting up once the eclipse ends and live feeds of areas of the country where total eclipses are happening.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for children.

Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University in Glassboro

This one seems ideal for those people looking to experience the eclipse, but not experience the act of paying to experience the eclipse. The planetarium at Rowan is hosting free planetarium shows every half hour in between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The first 1,000 visitors will be given goodie bags consisting of solar eclipse tattoos, stickers and the highly coveted solar eclipse glasses. They will also have solar telescopes available.

The Dreyfuss Planetarium at the Newark Museum in Newark

Despite normally being closed on Mondays, the planetarium is also hosting an event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Horizon Plaza. They’re also a good place to check out for more information about eclipses. The planetarium is running a show about eclipses, “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed,” that explains the nitty gritty of eclipses, from their history to the science behind them. The show wraps up on Friday August 18th.

There are also numerous viewing parties happening at town libraries, most of which are perfect if you have young children and don’t have a desire to travel to one of the museums previously mentioned.