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Penn State Astronomy to Help Local Community View Solar Eclipse

by on August 18, 2017 5:00 AM

The last time the contiguous United States witnessed a total solar eclipse was in 1979, meaning the eclipse that will be visible in North America on Monday will be a generational event.

Pennsylvania isn't in the "path of totality," the area stretching from Lincoln Beach, Ore. to Charleston, S.C., according to NASA. Those folks will get to see (with proper equipment) the moon completely cover the sun and making visible the sun's corona.

Still, here in Central Pennsylvania, we're in for a partial solar eclipse, with the sun just about 80 percent eclipsed. At its maximum, according to the Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, just a crescent of the sun will be visible. 

To help the local community properly and safely experience this partial eclipse Penn State astronomy students and faculty will be handing out hundreds of "eclipse glasses."

The eclipse begins at about 1:15 p.m., reaches its maximum at 2:35 p.m. and ends at about 4 p.m. During this time volunteers will be at three sites to help community members safely view the rare astronomical event:

Davey Laboratory rooftop observatory, University Park;

- The Arboretum at Penn State’s H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens (intersection of Park Avenue and Bigler Road); and

- Mount Nittany Middle School, 656 Brandywine Drive.

"Because the eclipse will only be visible if skies are clear, the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics will cancel the viewing events if the skies are completely cloudy and overcast," the department advised in a news release.

Check the department's Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates.

NASA will live stream the eclipse from locations across the country and from airplanes and high altitude balloons. 

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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