When more than 1,000 students, faculty and staff converge on Lander University's front lawn on Aug. 21, 2017, to witness the first U.S. coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918, they will represent only a pin-point of the 15-25 million that are expected to witness Totality (total darkness) across the continental U.S.
Expert astronomers are urging everyone from the west coast to the east to view the eclipse only through special-purpose solar filters that are certified to meet international safety standards.
Lander University is providing a free pair of certified solar eclipse viewing glasses to all students, faculty and staff. Distribution of these protective solar viewers begins August 14 at designated points on campus.
All eclipse watchers are urged by NASA and the American Astronomical Society to follow these safety tips for viewing:
At 2:39 p.m., viewers near the university's front lawn, are asked to listen for music cues to remove their special eclipse glasses at the moment of Totality -- for a brief 2 minutes and 28 seconds.
On the day of the solar eclipse, there will be no classes. All university offices will remain open. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to join in the following campus activities:
11 a.m. - Opening Convocation - Finis Horne Arena. Dr. Robert McLaren, associate director of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, will be the special guest speaker. Mandatory for all freshmen students; open to the entire campus.
Eclipse / NASA Livestreaming - Finis Horne Arena.
Following convocation, a giant screen will project NASA's livestream following the eclipse as it travels across the country on its way to South Carolina. Bring your boxed picnic lunch inside; bring a blanket/towel to stretch out on the arena floor __ It's a great way to take a break from the heat!
Science on Display - The Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) will be recording upwards of 1,000 eclipse images outside on the plaza. Representing Lander in the experiment will be Dave Slimmer, professor of physics and dean of the College of Science and Mathematics; Professor Michelle Deady, instructor of physics; and IT Technical Services Manager Kelly Hughes.
Eclipse Viewing Glasses - Watch your Lander email for information on where to pick up your free pair of certified eclipse viewing safety glasses. It is crucial to wear special protective eyewear while looking directly up at the sun during the partial phases of the eclipse before and after Totality.
Noon - 3 p.m. - Rock Totality and Picnic Lunch on the Front Lawn / Fountain.
Fun eclipse-themed activities, inflatables, music, food and refreshments will be outside on the Front Lawn. Bring a tailgating chair, blanket or towel to sit on, and enjoy Mother Nature's spectacular show!
Wear protective eclipse viewing glasses if looking directly at the sun __ except during the brief minutes of Totality, which is estimated to happen around 2:40 p.m. Viewers on Lander's front lawn will be given cues by the music DJ alerting them of the approaching phenomenon.
3-5 p.m. Post-Eclipse - Student Pool Party. Cool off with a dip in the outdoor pool at Sproles Rec Center. Must have a Lander ID to enter the pool area.
"We encourage all supervisors and managers to provide employee flexibility and allow your staff to attend events as much as possible," said Human Resources Director Jeannie McCallum. "It provides a great opportunity for your department and staff to enjoy each other and promote the Lander family atmosphere."
But regardless of how you celebrate or remember the eclipse, everyone in the Lander family will get to kick off the 2017-18 school year in a way that, at least until the 22nd century, no other Lander class will ever get to do.
"An event of this magnitude is something everyone at Lander will remember and cherish all of their lives," said university president Richard Cosentino. "And I can't think of a better way to start a new school year than with this once-in-a-lifetime experience."