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Jul. 5, 2017, 10:40 AM
A historic total solar eclipse will traverse the United States on Monday, Aug. 21, and Nashville, which lies directly in the eclipse’s path, will have a front-row seat. The skies will begin to darken around noon, and at 1:27 p.m. the moon will completely blot out the sun for almost two minutes of total darkness. The sky will then gradually return to its normal brightness around 3 p.m. This is the first total solar eclipse to traverse the entire United States in 99 years.
The Office of the Provost has planned a number of campus events to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event, and they are open to the entire Vanderbilt community.
“Vanderbilt is situated in a prime location along the pathway of this historic eclipse. We hope all of our students, faculty and staff will join us to experience this unique event on Aug. 21,” said Associate Provost for Digital Learning John M. Sloop, who is spearheading eclipse plans on behalf of the Office of the Provost.
The Aug. 21 celebration culminates a slate of eclipse-themed programming that began during the spring 2017 semester, including student competitions, lectures and exhibits.
Up-to-date event information may be found at Vanderbilt’s Eclipse website throughout the summer, and finalized plans will be communicated in MyVU in August.
Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff are invited to enjoy a variety of eclipse-related programming, including videos and activities, at an educational open house at the Wond’ry. Members of the Vanderbilt community can come and go as their schedules permit.
While first-year students gather on Commons Lawn to don their eclipse glasses for their freshman class picture, all other Vanderbilt community members are invited to Alumni Lawn to pick up a pair of special eclipse-viewing glasses in preparation for totality at 1:27 p.m. Attendees should arrive at 1 p.m. to enjoy all the key astronomical moments that occur just before total darkness. Entertainment, special eclipse videos, a live feed from NASA and frozen treats will be provided.
Can’t make it outside? The School of Engineering is partnering with NASA, NOAA, The Tennessee Space Consortium, and the Vanderbilt Amateur Radio Club (VUARC) to live- stream the eclipse from a camera mounted on a weather balloon that will be launched into the stratosphere—which is well above the clouds, in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. The live stream will be available on Vanderbilt’s Eclipse website and at NASA.gov. VUARC will communicate with amateur radio operators across the southeastern United States via a radio repeater aboard the balloon.
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