NU students are ready to safely view the upcoming eclipse.

Niagara Falls will be a premier location in which to watch the historic solar eclipse on April 8, and Niagara University will celebrate this extraordinary event with special programs and activities for students, organized by the university’s Castellani Art Museum (CAM), in partnership with the Office of Campus Activities and the Astronomy Club.

“Museums should be at the heart of their communities, helping to connect people to their natural curiosity about the things around them,” said Ellen Owens, director of CAM. “CAM regularly hosts opportunities for our campus to participate in activities that are fun and educational, using art as a vehicle for exploration about science, history, and creative endeavors. We explored the possibility of a solar eclipse watch party and determined that it would be best to team up with other groups on campus to support Niagara University's overall experience of this once-in-a-lifetime event. We are thrilled to partner with these groups to create a special moment for our campus.”

The Solar Eclipse Student Fest @ CAM takes place at the museum from 1-5 p.m. and will feature an “Out of this World” costume contest, hands-on arts and science projects that fuse creativity and learning, and space-themed movies. Attendees will be provided with special glasses so they can safely watch as the moon blocks the sun, or they can choose to make their own to view this spectacular sight. The campus radio station, WNIA, will add to the excitement with a dance party following the big event. Space-themed refreshments like Moon Pies and Mars Bars will be available, as well.

Members of Niagara’s Astronomy Club, with faculty advisor Dr. Robert Poltis, faculty fellow in physical sciences, will be on hand to share fun facts about solar eclipses, including how a total solar eclipse in 1919 verified Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

The weather in Western New York in April can be unpredictable, so if clouds obscure the eclipse, contingency plans include projecting the eclipse on an outside wall of the museum and watching NASA’s livestream inside.

Evan Wright, community and academic engagement manager at CAM, is taking the lead on the planning and coordination of these events. Wright began reaching out to the campus community after learning that other area museums were planning commemorative events around the eclipse and wanted to organize a similar celebration. He explained that an event such as the eclipse was an ideal opportunity to “engage students in STEAM-based activities,” referring to the acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

For more information, visit https://www.castellaniartmuseum.org/events/solar-eclipse-cam.