Dark Side of the Moon: UF to Offer Safe Solar Eclipse Viewing
The University of Findlay will be hosting a solar eclipse viewing for the campus and public when the event happens on Aug. 21. Participants are asked to gather at the Cory Street Mall gazebo near Brewer Science Hall’s Newhard Planetarium.
Steven Wild, Ph.D., University of Findlay assistant professor of physics, will be on hand to answer questions and provide devices for safe viewing from 1 p.m. to 3:49 p.m.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun. A full eclipse, which is rare, happens when the moon’s shadow completely covers the earth.
The maximum solar coverage for our area, which is predicted to be 86 percent, will occur around 2:30 p.m. and last for about three minutes. At 3:49 p.m. the moon and the sun will then part ways.
“In Findlay, we will have a partial eclipse, but it will still be a neat event to experience,” said Wild. “It is estimated that several hundred million people throughout North America alone will observe this event.”
A total solar eclipse will track from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic, beginning in Oregon and moving east to South Carolina, according to the National Weather Service. “At the center of totality the moon will block out the sun completely for approximately two minutes and 40 seconds.
Another full eclipse will not occur again until 2024, but its path will cross directly over northwest Ohio, according to NASA. The last total solar eclipse viewed from the contiguous United States happened in 1979.
Wild said he is excited about the event and interested in observing it himself. “I think people are fascinated with astronomy and space. I want people to view this event and appreciate how special it is,” he said.
Wild said it is crucial that people use a safe viewing method. “Regular sunglasses are not going to cut it. You can damage your eyes by looking at the sun, even during a partial solar eclipse.” The University will provide solar viewing glasses for viewing and sharing with others. Materials will also be available for people to make pinhole cards that will cast a shadow of the sun on the ground to observe the eclipse that way.
In case the weather does not cooperate, the University will open a lecture hall (location still to be determined) where attendees will be able to view a life feed from NASA as it monitors the eclipse.