Physics Club to host solar eclipse viewing

Zach Henson

Staff Writer

Troy residents will be able to view an 80 to 90 percent solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

A solar eclipse is the moon passing in between the earth and the sun, explained Maurice Clark, assistant professor of astronomy.

The path of totality, a narrow strip in which the sun will be completely blocked by the moon, will cover at least part of 14 states, the closest of which is Georgia.

“There’s usually two total solar eclipses, on average, every three years, and only that narrow strip gets to see totality,” he said.

Clark further explained that the next total solar eclipse visible in the United States will be in 2024.

For those not in the path of totality, but in the United States, the eclipse will be seen as the moon blocking all but a small crescent of the sun.

“For the partials, you must, must, must wear eye protection,” Clark said. “The best are what are commonly called eclipse glasses.”

Clark emphasized to not view a partial eclipse without protection.

“What will happen is the crescent shape of the sun will get burned into your retina,” he said. “You don’t know it’s happening because you’ve got no pain receptors on the retina of your eye. And for the rest of your life, you’ll have this black crescent shape in your vision.”

The Physics Club will hold a viewing event on the Bibb Graves quad between noon and 2 p.m., according to Govind Menon,  professor of physics.

The Physics Club will provide 100 pair of eclipse glasses for all to share, but encourages participants to bring their own if able.

Eclipse glasses can be purchased at Lowe’s for $1.98.

“Partial eclipses are fascinating to watch,” Clark said. “If you can get to where it’s total, I have never, ever seen anything so incredibly awesome as a total eclipse. They’re without a doubt the most incredible sight I’ve ever seen.”

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