August 15, 2017

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Hosts Great American Eclipse Event

VALDOSTA — On Monday, Aug. 21, the sun, the moon, and Earth will perfectly align, resulting in what most astronomy enthusiasts are calling the Great American Eclipse. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental United States since Feb. 26, 1979. 

The Great American Eclipse “will darken skies from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles wide,” shared the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences at Valdosta State University. “Those fortunate enough to be within the path of totality will enjoy an unforgettable experience.”

As the moon passes between the sun and Earth, it will cast a shadow. For those in the dark part of that shadow, known as the umbra, day will become night for a brief period of time. Those in the light part, the penumbra, will see only a partial eclipse.

“For people in Valdosta, the eclipse will be partial, with the moon first impinging upon the sun at 1:15 p.m.,” according to the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences. “At mid-eclipse, 2:42 p.m., the moon will cover about 90 percent of the sun’s disk, not enough to darken our daytime sky. The eclipse will end at 4:10 p.m.”

To allow faculty, staff, students, alumni, retirees, and friends of the university an opportunity to safely view this event, the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences will have telescopes equipped with solar filters available in front of Odum Library beginning at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. Special “eclipse glasses” will also be available for unmagnified viewing of the eclipse.

“It is imperative that proper eye protection be used when observing the eclipse,” shared the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences. “Looking directly at the sun, even when partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage.”

In case of cloud coverage and/or rain, the Great American Eclipse may be viewed through the eyes of NASA Television and NASA webcasts. Viewers around the world will be able to watch the eclipse through the eyes of 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Please visit for up-to-date coverage of this event.

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