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Eclipsing the Capitol

For a brief moment on August 21, 2017 the Nebraska State Capitol will not shine as the most spectacular sight in the state. The Capitol will be eclipsed by the eclipse. Some Nebraskans and visitors may want to celebrate the Sesquicentennial by viewing both the eclipse and the Capitol. The Office of the Capitol Commission is encouraging eclipse viewers coming to the Capitol to find a place on the Capitol’s lawn enjoy the show. While eclipse viewers might think that the Capitol’s 14th floor observation decks are the ideal place to see the eclipse, the space available on the observation decks and the section of the sky visible is very limited. Viewers trying to see the eclipse from the 14th floor of the Capitol will be disappointed to find they missed the eclipse and only saw darkened sky and shadows. For this reason the Office of the Capitol Commission is encouraging use of the Capitol grounds on this special day, and may close the 14th floor to avoid overcrowding, conflict and disappointment.

limited space on decks limited view of sky small section of sun visible

Above left is an image of the very limited space available for people to stand on 14th floor observation decks. The two images on the right show the limited view of the sun and sky looking through the viewing windows and directly overhead.  Below is an image of the sun shining over the Capitol. Proper positioning on the lawn will bring the eclipsed sun and the tower into view for a once in a lifetime photo opportunity.

view of sun above Capitol


The Capitol’s grounds will be available to eclipse viewers from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The moon’s shadow will make its way across Nebraska between 12:48 p.m. and 1:08 p.m. CDT. Toward the end of those 20 minutes the eclipse will reach totality over Lincoln for a brief 1 minute and 24 seconds.  Those wishing to see the two most spectacular sights in Nebraska that day are encouraged to bring a cloth blanket to lay out on the grass, have a picnic lunch and celebrate the Sesquicentennial eclipse. The Nebraska Capitol Café will be open for those wanting to purchase their lunch rather than packing a lunch to eat during their eclipse picnic on the Capitol lawn. All eclipse viewers are encouraged to take proper caution and not look directly at the sun without eye protection.  Additional information about plans for eclipse watching in Nebraska’s communities and the many festivities scheduled for this special Sesquicentennial event can be found on the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s website
   
The Landmark Store at the Capitol, open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday,  will have an Eclipse sale on Wednesday August 16, 2017 with 20% off most items.

For more information about eclipse viewing at the Capitol please contact Roxanne at (402)471-0449, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). . 

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Capitol quick facts

  • Construction started in 1922, completed in 1932.
  • The architect was Bertram G. Goodhue.
  • There are 15 floors above ground.
  • The building is 400 feet tall.
  • It is the third Nebraska State Capitol.
  • It cost $9.8 million in 1932 dollars.

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Lincoln, Nebraska 68509–4696
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