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Join us on Monday, August 21, for a look at Jefferson and eclipses. From noon to 4pm, we will have a tent on the West Lawn, where guests can learn about the history & science of eclipses, with an emphasis on Jefferson’s own observations. We will attempt to recreate the same experiments Jefferson conducted and will provide several viewing options so guests can experience the eclipse safely.
Jefferson attempted to observe at least four solar eclipses.
On June 24, 1778, Jefferson attempted to view a partial solar eclipse from Monticello; he noted “We were much disappointed in Virginia generally on the day of the great eclipse, which proved to be cloudy.”
He also attempted to view the April 3, 1791 eclipse from Philadelphia, and the June 16, 1806 eclipse from Washington.
On September 17, 1811, he viewed an eclipse at Monticello, and attempted to calculate the longitude of Monticello by timing the eclipse.