The fall semester at Erskine College begins Monday, Aug. 21, the day on which all of North America will experience a solar eclipse. The “path of totality,” within which a total eclipse of the sun can be observed, stretches from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina and includes Due West, home of Erskine College.
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Dr. Ekaterina Michonova, who is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, will speak to the Erskine community about the eclipse just prior to the event itself. Her address is scheduled for Aug. 21 at 12 noon in Lesesne Auditorium.
“There are around 12 million people on the totality path,” Michonova said. “We in Due West are very fortunate to be among them and to experience the ‘Great American Eclipse’ at its best.”
She noted that anyone within the path of totality will be able to view the total solar eclipse, in which the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere.
Michonova said students who attend the lecture in Lesesne Auditorium will receive convocation credit as well as glasses essential for safe viewing of the eclipse.
“We are about to observe a rare celestial phenomenon from a front-row seat,” she said.
Two dedicated observation sites will be set up on the Erskine campus, one on the Huggins Soccer Field and the other on Robinson Field. Solar glasses will be available and beverages will be provided.
Michonova stresses the following safety rules:
-During the partial stage of the eclipse, use your eclipse glasses, NOT your sunglasses when you look at the sun! The eclipse glasses provide 10,000 times stronger eye protection than your sunglasses. Never look at the sun without eclipse glasses during the partial stage of the eclipse.
-Remove your eclipse glasses only when the moon completely covers the sun and it suddenly gets dark. Remember, the only time when it is safe to take off your glasses while looking at the sun is during the 2 minutes 30 seconds of total eclipse.
-Take breaks and give your eyes a rest. There will be one and one-half hours of partial eclipse, starting at 1:09 p.m., followed by total eclipse from 2:38 p.m. to 2:41 p.m. and then another one and one-half hours of partial eclipse until 4:03 p.m.
-Do NOT look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. There will be plenty of coverage by NASA. Just enjoy the experience.
For more information: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/