By Vince Moore, contributor:
TRAVELERS REST, S.C. — Because it’s been 99 years since the last one and there won’t be another one for the rest of the century, Furman University is treating the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 as the remarkable event it promises to be.
The university will host a variety of public events on campus the day of the eclipse, including a guided viewing presentation in 16,000-seat Paladin Stadium, as the first total solar eclipse since 1918 sweeps across the continental United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic and passes through South Carolina in what astronomers are calling the “Great American Eclipse.”
All of the events for “Eclipse@Furman” are free and open to the public.
At approximately 2:38 p.m. local time on Aug. 21, the total solar eclipse will cross a diagonal line extending from Salem, Ore., through Charleston, S.C., and in so doing pass directly over the Furman campus.
“The eclipse will leave us in twilight for over two minutes with only the sun’s outer corona visible to the eye,” said John Wheeler, associate provost for integrative science and professor of chemistry at Furman. “Indeed, for over 100 million people residing on the eastern seaboard, South Carolina will be the closest viewing point to enjoy this momentous event.”
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The university will provide special glasses to everyone in attendance to ensure a safe viewing experience, and Furman Physics Professor David Moffett will narrate the guided discussion in Paladin Stadium as the eclipse unfolds between 2 and 2:45 p.m. In addition to the formal presentation, an eclipse “festival” will be held at the Paladin Stadium entrance between noon and 2 p.m., including thematic activities, concessions, special music, free Furman cups and access to water stations.
The university is placing special emphasis on engaging K-12 students and families as part of a community-wide program, including working with Greenville County Schools and local community centers to enhance participation.
Furman will provide information about the event throughout the summer, and the university has created a website, Eclipse@Furman, at www.furman.edu/eclipse.
In the event of inclement weather on Aug. 21, the public celebration will be moved to Bon Secours Wellness Arena in downtown Greenville, which will feature live-streaming from NASA.
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