One of the most spectacular astronomical events in years is coming to Miami August 21: a solar eclipse. Although the Magic City falls just outside of the 100-mile path of totality, where a total solar eclipse is viewable, Miamians will still be able to witness a partial eclipse, with a pretty impressive 80 percent of the sun shadowed by the moon. There are even times when a partial eclipse looks almost identical to a total eclipse, so Monday's event is poised to be a grand spectacle.
The next solar eclipse won't take place over Miami until August 12, 2045, so be sure to make the most of this one. Just keep in mind not to look directly at the sun without proper glasses or filters because it could severely damage your eyes.
The eclipse will begin at 1:26 p.m. and end at 4:20; the best time to view the celestial phenomenon will be 2:58. Here are some of the best places in Miami-Dade to experience the event:
1. Coral Castle. Why not be someplace mysterious for such a magnificent happening? Coral Castle, whose construction still remains something of an enigma, will host 2017 Solar Eclipse on its property near Homestead. On top of free parking and free solar-eclipse-viewing glasses (on a first-come, first-served basis), the price of admission includes psychic readings. What better time to get your palm read or future foretold than while the sun is blotted out by the moon's shadow? 1:26 to 4:20 p.m. at Coral Castle, 28655 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami; 305-248-6345; coralcastle.com. Admission costs $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $8 for children aged 7 to 12.
2. The Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Few places in Miami will be able to offer a solar eclipse experience quite like Frost Science. On top of the museum offering special viewing glasses with admission ($28), the Frost's expert astronomy team will be on hand to answer questions and to ensure you're safely looking at the sun, either through the special lenses or the museum's telescopes. Staff will also be live-streaming the NASA Eclipse Megacast, which will feature scientists and members of the public across the nation as they experience the solar eclipse. The last time a solar eclipse passed over America from one coast to the other was 99 years ago, so it makes sense to go big. Afterward, you can check out more of the universe in the Frost's new state-of-the-art planetarium, which is showing the space exploration film Asteroid: Mission Extreme. 1:25 to 4:20 p.m. at the Frost Museum of Science, 1101 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-434-9600; frostscience.org. Admission costs $17 to $28.
3. South Beach. One place unobstructed by trees is the beach. So why not venture to SoBe and watch the sky, and ocean below it, go dark? It should make for a pretty trippy experience. For $15, you can join yoga instructor Giuliano Geronymo in a "Sound Healing" treatment on the sand, which includes beats on a Native American-style drum, a crystal singing bowl, and didgeridoo — all tools used to help you embrace a new spiritual "cycle."
However, if you're not up for new-age medicine or the crowds of South Beach, any other stretch of beach will do, such as North Shore Park in North Beach or Crandon Park in Key Biscayne. Bring some cold ones, sunscreen (there are still UV rays during an eclipse), and your favorite swimsuit.
4. Miami-Dade Libraries. If you're all about snagging free solar-eclipse-viewing glasses or looking through a telescope, look no further than your local library. Many Miami-Dade branches will offer the special lenses, along with astro-related activities for kids. Among the libraries that will be celebrate the eclipse are the North Dade Regional Branch (2455 NW 183rd St., Miami), the Coral Reef Branch (9211 Coral Reef Dr., Miami), the Naranja Branch (14850 SW 280th St., Miami), and the Coral Gables Branch (3443 Segovia St., Coral Gables). Many of the festivities begin at 2 p.m. and last until 3:30.
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5. Deering Estate. If you want to get a closeup of the eclipse without the hubbub of Frost Science, you might be interested in heading to the Deering Estate. The Southern Cross Astronomical Society will have professional telescopes set up on the property. Protective glasses will be given out at the main gate beginning at 1 p.m. while supplies last. Guests are asked to bring their own protective lenses (not sunglasses) in case the special glasses run out. 1 p.m. at the Deering Estate, 16701 SW 72nd Ave., Palmetto Bay; 305-235-1668; deeringestate.org. Admission costs $12.
6. Your own backyard. Plenty of Miami venues have planned to capitalize on the eclipse. But none of the aforementioned locations has a monopoly on the sun. Wherever you are August 21, just head outside and watch the bizarro event with your friends and family. All you need are protective glasses and a spot unobstructed by palm trees. Happy viewing!