A Solar Eclipse to Start the Semester

August 15, 2017

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Emporia State’s fall semester kicks off with a mid-day party, thanks to the near perfect alignment of the moon and sun.

A solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, coincides with the first day of classes at ESU. To celebrate, there will be an Eclipse Party on Union Square from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. In Emporia, viewers will see a partial eclipse, with the maximum eclipse viewable at 1:06 p.m.

To ensure that all who want to see the eclipse can do so, ESU will dismiss noon classes at 12:30, and delay 1 o’clock classes until 1:30 p.m.

“The eclipse is a significant event that many members of the campus community want to experience,” said Dr. David Cordle, ESU provost. “Modifying our class schedule is an ideal way for all to enjoy the safe and informative viewing experience organized by our science faculty.” 

Music, a photo booth and snacks will provide a fun atmosphere for the event. Even more important, however, will be special “eclipse glasses” provided by ESU’s Peterson Planetarium. 

“It is not safe to look directly at the sun, even if it is partially covered by the moon,” said Dr. Jorge Ballester, professor of physical sciences.

Produced by Rainbow Symphony, Inc., the ESU eclipse glasses meet the safety recommendations of NASA.

Science faculty have been planning how to share the eclipse with campus since early in the summer. “We love that we can experience this significant scientific event with so many students in real time. So much of our work is done in the labs and presented at conferences,” said Ballester.

In fact, over the last 10 years, ESU students working with faculty mentors have won twice as many awards at the Kansas Academy of Sciences as students from any other university. Astronomical events, however, are ideal to share science with the masses.

Five years ago, several hundred people came to campus to view the transit of Venus, when the planet looks like a black dot as it passes in front of the sun. Telescopes with filters were set up on top of Cram Hall and sunspotter projection devices were available to use on the ground.

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