Weather permitting, nearly all of Lincoln's 280,000 residents can experience the total solar eclipse from their own backyards.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Jeff Maul, executive director of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. "I think Lincoln people need to be aware that we're going to have people from all over the world here ... and it's going to be gone before you know it."
Lincoln's last major eclipse — on May 10, 1994 — was an annular eclipse, in which the moon is too far away to completely block the sun. No total eclipse has cut through the Capital City during its recorded history.
While nearly all of Lincoln is within the Aug. 21 eclipse path, far southwest Lincoln is closest to the center line and will experience the longest totality: 1 minute, 51 seconds.
Expect county roads between Lincoln and Beatrice to turn into impromptu viewing sites long before the partial eclipse begins at 11:37 a.m., followed by the total eclipse at 1:02 p.m.
People looking for structured eclipse events have options in the Capital City.
Gates at Haymarket Park will open at 11 a.m. for a total solar eclipse game between the Lincoln Saltdogs and Gary SouthShore Railcats. Tickets start at $6.
"We'll have a solar eclipse delay in the baseball game, which is somewhat unique," Maul said.
Just outside Haymarket Park and accessible to the general public, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will host a science and engineering expo with exhibits tied to the solar eclipse.
For free eclipse viewing, people can set up blankets at any city park or Audubon Spring Creek Prairie near Denton.
Other events planned in Lincoln:
Friday & Saturday, August 18-19, 2017, 11 a.m., “Earth, Moon, and Sun,” Mueller Planetarium. Located in Morrill Hall at the University of Nebraska State Museum and geared for younger audiences, this show describes the relationship between our planet and its moon and sun; while addressing common misconceptions. (http://www.spacelaser.com/earthmoonsun.html)
Friday & Saturday, August 18-19, 2017, 12 p.m., “Eclipses & Phases of the Moon,” Mueller Planetarium. For a more grown-up audience, this show also describes how eclipses (and the phases of the moon occur). (http://www.spacelaser.com/eclipses.html)
The planetarium shows are followed by a short presentation on how to plan for the eclipse, with maps and safe-viewing advice.
Friday, August 18, 8-11 p.m., “Public Astronomical Viewing Night,” Behlen Observatory, Mead, Nebraska; with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s 30-inch Cassegrain Reflector. (http://observatory.unl.edu)
Saturday, August 19, 2017, Sundown-11 p.m., Hyde Memorial Observatory at Holmes Lake. In addition to a presentation on the upcoming eclipse, the evening will feature views of the night skies through the observatory’s three telescopes including a new Celestron 14-inch OTA on a Mathis Instruments M-500 Mount! (www.hydeobservatory.info/eclipse)
Sunday, August 20, 2017, 2-4 p.m., SciPop Talks! Where Science Intersect Pop Culture Family "pre-party." University of Nebraska and the Lincoln Children’s Museum are co-hosting an Aug. 20 Solar Eclipse Pre-Party that will feature two SciPop talks -- “Football Physics” and “Comic Book Physics 101” -- and two interactive lessons -- “Potions of Harry Potter” and “Solar Eclipse Facts and Fun.” The family friendly event is 2 p.m. at the museum. Admission will be charged to non-museum members.
Sunday, August 20, 2017, 8-11 p.m., UNL Campus Student Observatory (atop the Memorial Stadium parking garage).
Lincoln City Libraries invites the public to several events to help families prepare for safely viewing the solar eclipse on August 21. Participants will receive a pair of eclipse viewing glasses, make a pinhole viewer and enjoy other games and crafts. The schedule is as follows:
• Wednesday, August 9, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Bennett Martin Public Library, 136 S 14th Street
• Wednesday, August 9, 2 to 4 p.m., South Branch Library, 2675 South Street
• Saturday, August 12, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Walt Branch Library, 6701 S 14th Street
A limited number of eclipse viewing glasses will be available for the public following each program. Libraries not hosting programs will have glasses for distribution beginning July 31.
Special quilt exhibit
The International Quilt Study Center & Museum will open a special pop-up exhibition of quilts August 19-20 in the Dillow Conservation Workroom.The nine quilts on display will consist of traditional American, studio art and international pieces. This will include an indigo Rising Sun pattern made circa 1840-1860 in Ohio and two dated historical pieces — Stars and Comet and Rainbow Quilt — both made in 1892 in Pennsylvania. There will also be a Ralli from Maharashtra, India, and art quilts by Jean Ray Laury, Olga Prins Lukowski and Terrie Hancock Mangat. This special exhibit will be available for viewing free with admission from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. August 19 and 1-4 p.m. August 20.
Barry's Bar and Grill rooftop
CNN has selected Barry's Bar and Grill for one of its nationwide watch parties.
South Street eclipse party
Open Harvest, Meadowlark and Hannayahealing will be hanging out in the South Street Plaza parking lot with grilled goodies, a coffee bar and henna. People should bring solar viewing glasses and a chair.