2017 Solar Eclipse

On August 21, the 2017 Solar Eclipse Across America will be visible across the continental United States.

The San Juan Islands are located north of totality, yet visitors will still be able to experience 80-85% of a total eclipse—a stunning phenomenon as the moon moves in front of the sun. However, the sun’s corona will not be visible, as that is only visible where there is a total eclipse.

Eclipse Viewing Party

San Juan Island National Historical Park will be hosting an Eclipse Viewing Party at South Beach on August 21st from 8:30 a.m. to noon where you can come safely view the sun with solar-viewing glasses or telescopes with solar filters, learn about renewable energy sources, make solar prints, and so much more!

There is a free shuttle to the eclipse viewing party. It departs from in front of the grange (152 1st St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250) at 8am, 8:30am, 9am, and 9:30am.

A huge thanks to our partners for making this event possible: San Juan Islands National Monument, Island Rec, San Juan Island Library, San Juan Islands Conservation District, San Juan County Land Bank, Indigenous Education Institute, Friends of Lime Kiln Society, and Friends of the San Juans.

What is an eclipse?

A solar eclipse is a celestial event when the moon passes between the sun and earth—blocking all or part of the sun. At a given location, the event can last up to an hour and a half. For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. The last total eclipse for the contiguous US was in 1979; the next one will be in 2024.

Here in the San Juan Islands, the eclipse will start around 9:10 am and last until about 11:40 am, with the maximum eclipse occurring around 10:20 am.

To find out when the eclipse will be visible for your location check out NASA’s Eclipse site.

Viewing Tips

Watching the solar eclipse can be a lifetime-memory. Here are tips to ensure a safe viewing experience.

  • Proper eye protection is necessary to safely look directly at the sun. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not sufficient. Even in the partial darkness of an eclipse, the suns rays can cause severe eye injury without proper protection. Eclipse glasses are available at available at all park visitor centers. Young children should be supervised very carefully.

  • If traveling, stop in a safe area before looking at the eclipse.

  • Get to your chosen viewing location early to avoid traffic or crowds.

  • Watch out for people on roads and in parking areas—people will be looking up!


For thousands of years people learned about the sun through careful observation. Understanding the sun and seasons was critical to survival. As early as 4,000 years ago, ancient astronomers tried to predict solar eclipses in China and Greece.

More recently, scientists planned experiments during eclipses to test theories and equipment. With the sun blocked, other atmospheric features become visible. Scientists proved Einstein’s theory of relativity, and they searched for a theoretical planet Vulcan but it was proven not to exist.


Special solar filters are required on all camera lenses and telescopes during the partial phase of the eclipse.

View or photograph the eclipse using your personal camera or telescope using special equipment and precautions. If you want to use personal equipment for the eclipse, please learn about the necessary techniques and equipment.

Last updated: August 17, 2017

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 429
Friday Harbor, WA 98250


(360) 378-2240

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