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Solar Eclipse 2017: Why the Air and Space Museum is your best bet in D.C.

Get yourself some free eclipse glasses or take a peek through safe solar telescopes

The National Air and Space Museum.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jawed Karim

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on August 3, 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information.

On Monday, August 21, those in the D.C. area will be able to see a partial solar eclipse for the first time in nearly a century. To mark the occasion, the National Air and Space Museum will host programming throughout the day in the National Mall building and in the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

These free events will offer safe solar telescopes, free eclipse glasses, and the option to make your own pinhole eclipse viewer. The observatory’s Ustream channel will also offer the ability to view the eclipse from the nation’s capital.

Along with the the Smithsonian museum, the National Archives and National Zoo will offer programming in conjunction with the event. Both venues will feature safe solar telescopes. The National Archives will also feature records from their holdings about past solar eclipses.

The eclipse will be visible from 1:17 p.m. to 4:01 p.m. EST with the peak at 2:42 p.m. when the moon will obscure 81 percent of the sun.

Want to see when exactly the peak of the eclipse will be and how much of the sun will be obscured, depending on your ZIP code? Check out this cool interactive tool.

Observe the Solar Eclipse [National Air and Space Museum]

D.C.’s solar eclipse: What to expect and when to expect it [Curbed DC]

[UPDATE 8/14/17: For those who live in Maryland, be sure to check out these Montgomery County venues: the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the Black Hill Visitor Center in Boyds, Maryland.

According to Bethesda Magazine, eclipse glasses will be available at both sites with hours ranging from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the park and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Black Hill. The one at the park will also feature a dance party.]