Here are some local opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area for public viewing of the partial eclipse of the Sun on May 20, 2012. Special thanks to Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College & Astronomical Society of the Pacific) who compiled the information. For additional eclipse info see:


The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley (1 Centennial Drive) will have several solar telescopes for viewing the eclipse safely on their main plaza. There will also be special programming inside the Hall’s Planetarium throughout the evening. The program goes from 5 to 8 pm. See:

Clayton (Mt. Diablo)

The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society will have safe solar telescopes available for viewing on Mt. Diablo (Park in the Lower Summit Parking Lot, Summit Rd, Clayton, CA 94517). Starting at 5 pm until 7:30 pm, they will be setting up at Juniper Campground parking area. Although there is no fee for this program, there is a $10 park entrance fee. Check their web site and click on events.

Half Moon Bay

Cameron’s Campground, Inn, and Restaurant (1410 Cabrillo Highway South Half Moon Bay, 1.3 miles South of Hwy. 92) is hosting an afternoon of astronomy viewing. Host is Steve White of Scope City, San Francisco, who will have a special telescope that can show solar flares and prominences.

Los Altos

Foothill College Observatory (12345 El Monte Rd.) will be open, with telescopes in and outside the dome, from 5:30 pm to about 7:30 pm. Join the members of the Peninsula Astronomical Society for free eclipse observing and explanations. For a map and webcam, see:

Mount Hamilton

Lick Observatory, 7281 Mount Hamilton Road, Mount Hamilton, CA 95140 (18 miles east of San Jose on State Route 130) will be providing access to a solar telescope (SolarMax II) for safe, up-close viewing, and the gift shop will also have eclipse viewing glasses available for purchase for a nominal charge.


Chabot Space and Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd) will have an eclipse viewing party on the observatory deck. Engage in hands-on solar projects, make a pin-hole camera, enjoy solar viewing, and converse with experienced astronomers. The Center will close at 5 pm, but there will be special extended hours on the observatory deck until 8pm! Buy tickets online or call (510)336-7373.

Pleasant Hill

Diablo Valley College Observatory (321 Golf Club Road) will have one or more telescopes available from about 5 pm until the Sun goes behind the trees. The best access is from Viking Drive with free parking in lots 4 and 4a. A campus map can be obtained at: The observatory is the circular building in the middle of Science Center. The planetarium will not be open. The observatory has a WHITE dome and can be accessed following the path on the west side of the Life Sciences Building and then the spiral path to the left. NO stairs are required, but it is a fairly steep climb on a paved path.


The Discovery Museum Science & Space Center (3615 Auburn Blvd, Sacramento 95821) will have an eclipse party, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The evening includes a program explaining eclipses and safe viewing techniques (each participant will receive a special eclipse viewer). During the actual eclipse, families are invited to enjoy their own picnic dinners in our nature area. Then there will be a planetarium show featuring the planets and constellations visible as darkness falls. You may register at the Museum or over the phone by calling 916-808-3942.

San Carlos

San Carlos Library (610 Elm St.) will have a solar eclipse event from 4 – 7 pm. Indoor and outdoor activities, telescopes, eclipse and lunar-phase models. Call 650 591-0341.

San Francisco

The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park (55 Music Concourse Dr.) will be setting up some telescopes and other viewing apparatus from 5 to 7:40 pm in front of the Academy on the Music Concourse side, where the angles should allow participants to see most, if not all, of the eclipse.

Two members of the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers will set up telescopes for public eclipse viewing at Sunset Reservoir Park, on the path above 28th Avenue and Ortega Street, from 5:15 – 7:30pm, weather permitting.

San Jose

The San Jose Astronomical Association will have eclipse viewing from 5:00 to 7:40 pm near the intersection of Twilight and Rupert Drives in San Jose, CA. After reaching the intersection, go about 150 feet north. Turn right into the driveway immediately north of the tennis court fence. See Google-supported routing at: Please car-pool if practical, as parking is somewhat limited. After 1 pm, a short weather message will be available at 408-559-1221.

San Juan Batista

The Fremont Peak Observatory Association will conduct a special solar program from 5 pm to sunset at the observatory which is located in Fremont Peak State Park (6878 San Juan County Road, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045). You can obtain detailed directions to the Observatory from Google using this link: Members of the public must be sure to pay the park entry fee before walking up to the observatory. You’ll be able to view the eclipse through special solar telescopes. They will also be handing out a limited number of approved solar viewers for direct observation of the Sun.

With partial support from NLSI, Jack Burns LUNAR team and Mihaly Horanyi’s CCLDAS team, the lunar science community in Colorado is hosting one of the largest and most unique EPO event the institute has ever seen.

Projections are that well over 10,000 people will view the May 20 86% eclipse from the Univ. of Colorado football stadium. NLSI teams have arranged for the whole football stadium of the University of Colorado to host the eclipse viewing (along with hotdog eating, trivia contests, giveaways, etc.). All for free!
Part of the stadium faces the Rocky Mountains, and 10,000 people will be wearing eclipse glasses, watching the sun will set over the Rockies while eclipsed. It should be a great view.

Two TV stations will broadcast in English and Spanish, providing the country’s only live web feed of a solar image that we know of.

CU’s Sommers Bausch Observatory will broadcast live streaming video from its solar telescope, in both visible light and H alpha.

Here’s the link:


NLSI staff supported by LADEE E/PO and the NASA Lunar Quest Program Office will be conducting free public programs at the Grand Canyon Village Visitor Center and will provide the public with telescope viewing of the eclipse on Sunday, May 20 on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. This program features information about eclipses and the latest NASA research relating to the sun and moon. Seating is limited: free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:00 a.m. on May 20 at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Grand Canyon National Park lies in the path of a rare annular eclipse of the sun, late in the afternoon of May 20, 2012, and is one of the more interesting venues from which to view the eclipse.

Ranger-assisted opportunities to view the eclipse will be provided on both rims. NASA scientists, amateur astronomers, and the National Park Service will team up to share their telescopes and knowledge with park visitors… followed by an evening South Rim Star Party.

According to the Park Service, the largest concentration of telescopes will be behind the Grand Canyon Visitor Center on the South Rim, but telescopes will also be at Lipan Points, at the benches west of Desert View Watchtower and on the Watchtower deck.

Though the western two-thirds of the United States will see at least a partial eclipse before sunset, rangers say Grand Canyon National Park will see the moon pass fully in front of the sun, leaving only a ring– or “annula”– of the sun visible around it.

For safe viewing, consider buying eclipse glasses in advance. Solar viewing cards will also be sold for $1 in all park bookstores while supplies last. Viewing the eclipse with the naked eye, or through a camera viewfinder, is extremely dangerous.

Approximate Timing of the eclipse:

5:28 p.m.-partial eclipse begins

6:34 p.m. – annular eclipse begins

6:39 p.m. – annular eclipse ends

7:32 p.m. – sun sets while still partially eclipsed

After dark: a public Star Party until at least 11 p.m. (Village shuttle buses run until 10 p.m.)

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff

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