CCU plans public programs to shed light on upcoming eclipse

The total eclipse of the sun on Monday, Aug. 21, is a big deal for Coastal Carolina University’s Department of Physics and Engineering Science.

Department faculty members Louis Keiner, associate professor of physics, and Louis Rubbo, associate professor of astronomy, will lead a community information program called “What to expect from the Great American Eclipse of 2017” on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in Wheelwright Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.

The professors will discuss the science and history of the eclipse and what to expect when it occurs. Keiner, who is also a photographer, will give advice on photographing the eclipse. There will be a live feed of the presentation on social media for those who can’t make the event. Visit at https://livestream.com/coastalcarolinauniversity/.

Rubbo will also give a talk, “In the Moon’s Shadow: The Strange and Rare Occurrences of Solar Eclipses,” on Sunday, Aug. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Strand Theater in Georgetown.

“It’s the middle of a summer afternoon, yet the temperature has just dropped abruptly as the sky darkens, stars and planets become visible in the sky, and insects begin their evening chirps,” says Rubbo. “This is just some of the strangeness that accompanies a solar eclipse, that rare time when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. While the moon appears to block out the sun, its shadow does not cover all of the Earth, but rather a small region that slowly drifts across the landscape. For those lucky enough to be within the moon’s shadow, night is brought to the daytime. In these talks, we will delve into the strangeness that is a solar eclipse, discover why they are so rare, and discuss what to expect during the Great American Eclipse of 2017.”

On Monday, Aug. 21, the first day of fall classes at CCU, the University community will gather on Prince Lawn to view the eclipse, with free custom viewing glasses for the first 5,000 students, faculty and staff. Media are invited to cover the event.

The eclipse will begin with the moon starting to shade the sun around 1:18 p.m., with the totality of coverage for our area being at 2:47 p.m. (lasting about three minutes), and the moon leaving the path of the sun by 4:09 p.m.

On the day of the eclipse, Rubbo will give a presentation to students at the Georgetown School of Arts and Sciences at 9 a.m. at the Georgetown Library. Around noon, he will host an “Ask an Astronomer” booth for the public at Georgetown’s Francis Marion Park. Keiner will be photographing the eclipse in the Francis Marion National Forest.

Kimbel Library has an educational display about the eclipse, and there will be a live feed from the NASA website of the eclipse starting at 2 p.m. in the Coastal Theater inside the Lib Jackson Student Union.

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