Arts & Entertainment

RVCC Planetarium Offers Free, Safe Viewing of Solar Eclipse

The "Diamond Ring Effect" of a total solar eclipse. Credits: Raritan Valley Community College
Map of the projected path of the August 24, 2017 solar eclipse. Credits: Raritan Valley Community College

BRANCHBURG NJ - The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium in Branchburg will be heating up with excitement in August, as the Planetarium—and the rest of the country—prepare for a total Solar Eclipse on August 21. It is the first time in 99 years that the U.S. is experiencing a coast-to-coast total Solar Eclipse. While the “Path of Totality” for complete viewing of the Solar Eclipse will run diagonally across the country from Oregon to South Carolina, New Jersey residents will see approximately 75 percent of the Sun covered by the Moon.

The public is invited to attend a free, safe viewing of the Solar Eclipse on August 21, from 1-4 p.m., at the RVCC Planetarium. Those attending will participate in the viewing outside the 3M Observatory, which is located next to the Planetarium.

In addition, many of the Planetarium’s shows throughout this week will include a five-minute “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment focusing on the Solar Eclipse:

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Sunstruck, Fridays, August 18, at 8 p.m.

Discover the wonders of the Sun, which radiates energy in all wavelengths. How does it produce energy? What are its different layers? The Sun’s incredible energy has supported life on Earth for millennia, but it is now threatening our technology and way of life. Travel to the distant future to discover our Sun's connection to the Universe's cosmic cycle of life and death.  The show includes the “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment. (Recommended for ages 10-adult).

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon laser concert, Friday, August 18, at 9 p.m.

Experience stellar sights and sounds while listening to Pink Floyd’s iconic album. Songs include “Speak to Me/Breathe,” “Time,” and “Money.”

Laser Pop Rock, Friday August 18, at 6 p.m.

Lasers “dance” across the Planetarium dome while music is played. Songs include "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens, "Campfire Song Song" by Spongebob Squarepants, and "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift. (Recommended for ages 6-12)

The Problem with Pluto, Thursday, August 17, at 2:30 p.m.

Follow Lucy on her trip through the solar system as she gathers data on Pluto’s status as a planet. Discover current information about the planets and investigate where Pluto belongs in the overall structure of our solar system. The show includes the “Countdown to the Eclipse” segment. (Recommended for ages 6-12)

Laser Light Waves, Thursday, August 17, at 3:30 p.m.

Enjoy a laser concert featuring such songs as “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr, and “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga. (Recommended for ages 6-12)

The August 21 Solar Eclipse viewing at the Planetarium is free of charge.

Regular Planetarium show tickets cost $8 for one show or $14 for two shows on the same day. Reservations are strongly suggested for all Planetarium shows. For additional information or to make reservations, call 908-231-8805 or visit

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit

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