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View Solar Eclipse in DeKalb

August 7th, 2017

Did you know a  solar eclipse is coming on Aug. 21? We’ll have a pretty good view right here in DeKalb. To celebrate this rare and exciting occasion, NIU STEAM Works is partnering with the DeKalb Public Library to host a series of community events from Aug. 16 to Aug. 21. All events are free and open to the public.

At the events you’ll receive free solar viewing glasses (as long as supplies last), as well as a flier with viewing tips and safety information to help you prepare for the solar eclipse.

On Aug.  21 – as long as the skies are clear – community members of all ages are invited to view the solar eclipse from noon to 2:30 p.m. in the fountain courtyard east of Davis Hall on the NIU campus. Eclipse glasses, solar binoculars and solar telescopes will be available to allow for safe viewing of the eclipse, which will peak at about 1:18 p.m. Parking will be available for $5 in the Visitors Lot off of Carroll Avenue.

In case of overcast skies, we encourage community members to view NASA’s live stream of the eclipse online.

“It’s not very often in a person’s lifetime that they get to see a solar eclipse,” says Pati Sievert, director of NIU STEM Outreach. “Even though we don’t have totality here in DeKalb, the sun will be almost 90 percent covered, so it will still be a spectacular event to see.”

Leading up to the eclipse, the DeKalb Public Library will host hands-on STEAM Works activities to help children, teens and adults understand and appreciate the science of the solar eclipse:

Aug. 16, 6 p.m. – Celestial Treasure Hunt for ages 13-19, DeKalb Public Library Teen Room: Teams of teens will solve scientific mysteries related to the eclipse to unlock a treasure box and claim their treasure.

Aug. 17, 11 a.m.-noon – Fun With the Sun for ages 2-7 at the DeKalb Public Library: Children and families will hear sun-inspired stories and create solar art.

Aug. 17, noon-1 p.m. – Sun Art for ages 8-12 at the DeKalb Public Library: Youth will use the energy of the sun to create their own Cyanotype, a blue sun print.

Aug. 17, 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Nature of Light – an interactive demonstration program for all ages at the DeKalb Public Library: Community members of all ages will be invited to join in, right from their seats, as we explore the nature of light.

These programs for all ages are part of NIU STEM Outreach’s mission to increase science, technology, engineering, mathematics literacy and enthusiasm.

“Anytime we can expose kids to some of this really cool science, it gives us the chance to inspire them to investigate more on their own,” Sievert says.

Adults will have a final chance to appreciate the solar eclipse at a STEM Café, “The Mystique of the Solar Eclipse,” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway in Aurora. Richard Cooler, professor emeritus of art history and Southeast Asian studies, and archeological anthropologist Christopher Davis will share mythology of the solar eclipse from many cultures. The event is free and open to the public. Food will be available for purchase from Two Brothers Roundhouse.

For more information, contact Pati Sievert at