Skip to main content

Exploratorium partners with Navajo leaders to share eclipse knowledge from Navajo worldview

Exploratorium partners with Navajo leaders to share eclipse knowledge from Navajo worldview

Exploratorium to also produce livestream and educational program during annular eclipse on Oct. 14, 2023 from Valley of the Gods, UT and Ely, NV as part of partnership with NASA

Graphic depicting sun and moon

SAN FRANCISCO (September 19, 2023) – The Exploratorium is proud to partner with the Indigenous Education Institute and Navajo elders to share knowledge of eclipses from the Navajo worldview ahead of this year’s annular eclipse on October 14, 2023. The annular eclipse will pass through Indigenous lands in the "Four Corners" region, including Valley of the Gods, UT, where the Exploratorium will livestream the eclipse and present an hour of educational programming as part of its longstanding partnership with NASA.

“Navajo astronomy can best be understood within a much larger context of Navajo philosophy,” said Nancy C. Maryboy, Ph.D., founder and president of the Indigenous Education Institute. “The Navajo worldview includes a holistic and ordered universe where everything is interrelated and all the pieces of the universe are enfolded within the whole. At the same time, every piece contains the entire universe, creating a network of relationships and processes in constant flux. Unlike Western astronomy, traditional Navajo astronomy is highly spiritual in accordance with a worldview where everything is considered living and sacred.” 

The Exploratorium worked closely with the Indigenous Education Institute and the Navajo community to describe eclipses in the Navajo (Diné) language and create educational posters featuring the different phases of the eclipse in Diné. Download the PDF and listen to Navajo astronomers, elders, medicine men, educators and schoolchildren share Navajo knowledge of the cosmos on the Exploratorium’s new eclipse website,

For Navajo, eclipses are considered a time of renewal and contemplation, and Navajo elders instruct the community to go inside the hogan (their traditional dwelling) during eclipses as an act of reverence and to ensure their safety. During the annular eclipse, the sun will appear as a “ring of fire” as the moon passes between the sun and the Earth at its farthest point from the planet. 

“Our elders tell us that the sun, the moon and the earth go through constant renewal by aligning themselves,” said Dr. David Begay, Navajo astronomer. “It’s one of the natural laws that’s been observed over the years and the sun rebalances itself with the alignment. Over the years, people must have experienced that looking at the sun directly during an eclipse can hurt your eye, damage your eye … so it’s a restriction. When there’s an eclipse, they tell people, ‘Go inside.’ Respect the cycle and let time pass.” 

For more than 20 years, the Exploratorium has collaborated with NASA to broadcast stunning telescope images and live feeds of solar eclipses to the world. October’s annular eclipse will be followed by a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, when the Exploratorium will be live streaming from Torreon, Mexico, and Junction,TX. Learn more about the Exploratorium’s eclipse expeditions at You can also view the eclipse on the go via the Exploratorium’s free eclipse app, Total Solar Eclipse, for iOS or for Android. 

About the Exploratorium

Exploratorium logo

The Exploratorium is a portal to the astonishing scientific phenomena that animate our world and shape our actions. We create extraordinary learning experiences that ignite curiosity, upend perceptions, and inspire brave leaps forward. Since 1969, the Exploratorium’s museum in San Francisco has been home to a renowned collection of exhibits that draw together science, art, and human perception, and that have changed the way science is taught. Our award-winning programs provide a forum for the public to engage with artists, scientists, policymakers, educators, and tinkerers to explore the world around them. We celebrate diversity of thought, inspired investigation, and collaboration across all boundaries.

Press Office