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MOSI to host Solar Eclipse Celebration

TAMPA — MOSI, Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry, will likely sell out of eclipse glasses before the moon takes a bite out of the sun April 8, says chief executive John Graydon Smith.

  • Published April 4, 2024, 10:45 AM UTC

Staff at the Museum of Science and Industry set up specialized telescopes for a solar eclipse watch party in October 2023 in Tampa. They will bring them out again on April 8 for the solar eclipse that will reveal a 60% obstruction for the Tampa Bay area that day.

The museum will host a Solar Eclipse Celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. that day with special activities, on-site astronomers and safe viewing of the celestial event. While people can opt to watch the eclipse from home, there’s nothing quite like witnessing it with a group of like-minded stargazers, Smith said. For those with a passion for astronomy, it’s an opportunity to gather, share knowledge and experience the wonder of the sky.

“It’s like going to a football game,” Smith said. “There is a sense of community at these events. You are surrounded by other people who are interested in what you are interested in.”

For six decades, MOSI has offered a fun and safe environment for all ages to view eclipse events. Museum astronomers make sure visitors take all necessary precautions to prevent eye injury. Forget what Taylor Swift says, experts agree staring directly at the sun is never a good idea and one wrong glance during an eclipse can cause permanent blindness. For this reason, MOSI uses equipment designed to both protect and provide a closer look.

Using specialty solar telescopes, visitors will be able to see the sun’s photosphere as well as chromosphere April 8. Jose Cotayo, education specialist at MOSI, said to look forward to a once-in-a-lifetime sight. Though eclipses themselves aren’t extremely rare, the upcoming occurrence is unique.

“What’s rare about this eclipse is the path of totality covers such a broad metropolitan area,” Cotayo said. “There won’t be another one like this until August 2024.”

Portions of the United States, Mexico and Canada will experience a total eclipse. The best time for viewing from the Tampa Bay area will be about 3 p.m., when 60% of the sun will be covered. MOSI educators will lead activities for families and astronomers will answer questions throughout the afternoon.

Cotayo, a NASA Solar System Ambassador Volunteer and teacher at MOSI’s Saunders Planetarium, often hosts night sky watching events. At home, he has a collection of well-used telescopes. Seeing the stars mid-afternoon, however, is a special experience, he said. Smith agrees.

“It’s always incredible when this sort of thing happens in the middle of the day,” he said.

MOSI encourages people interested in attending the Solar Eclipse Celebration to purchase tickets and glasses in advance. Eclipse activities are included with general admission to the museum. Glasses are $5 and there is a limited supply.

Smith said all ages are welcome to attend the viewing. He expects a large student turnout because the event coincides with an early release day for Hillsborough County Schools. All children and youth must be accompanied by an adult and supervised responsibly.


MOSI to host Solar Eclipse Celebration | News |

About MOSI

MOSI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, community-based institution, and educational resource. For 60 years, The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) has been offering programs to all in the Tampa Bay community that focus on a variety of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

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