On August 21, 2017 there will be a total solar eclipse on a narrow path across the United States. A total solar eclipse occurs when the new Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. The event creates fascinating lighting and allows viewers to see the corona of the Sun.
Gallatin, Tennessee will be one of the best spots in the country to view the total eclipse with totality lasting two minutes and forty seconds. Eclipse viewing in the area will be from noon-3 p.m. Totality will occur at 1:27 p.m.
Of course, viewing is dependent on the weather. Overcast skies may make eclipse viewing marginal.
Volunteer State Community College is hosting a free eclipse watching event on our campus in Gallatin from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is open to everyone. We will have educational presentations, live video viewing of the eclipse in other parts of the country, live narration during the totality, and fun science exhibits for kids and adults. The activities will be held both outside and in air-conditioned buildings. While there will be limited outdoor seating, attendees should be prepared to sit on the lawn. People are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs. There will be room for picnicking. We will also have food and beverages for sale. The campus has plenty of bathrooms and heat relief zones (seating areas) in many buildings.
Parking is also free. Buses and RV's are welcome, but there will be no overnight parking, before or after the event. Parking lots open at 8 a.m. Once the lots are full, the campus will be closed to new entrants. Entry is first come, first served. The campus will close at 6pm on the day of the Eclipse. No alcohol will be allowed in vehicles or on campus. There is no smoking on campus. This is designed as a family event.
We need to have an idea of how many people will be attending. We have set-up an Eventbrite registration web page. We ask that people register on that page and let us know how many people will be attending in their group. The ticket that is emailed back to each person signing-up does not guarantee admission. Admission will be first-come, first-served. You don’t need to bring the ticket to the event. The registration is simply for our count of attendees.
Volunteer State Community College has 100 acres of land to see the eclipse. Most of which is open and that's where the event will be hosted.
Our Campus will be filled with activities from 9 A.M. until 3 P.M.
Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. We will supply these glasses as supplies last.
|11:59 A.M.||Partial Eclipse Starts|
|1:27 P.M.||Total Eclipse Starts|
|2 minutes and 40 seconds||Total Eclipse lasts|
|2:54 P.M.||Partial Eclipse ends|
Campus officially opens at 8 a.m. Parking will be limited. We encourage carpools.
|9:30 A.M.||Auditorium Welcome by Vol State President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner and eclipse viewing suggestions and warnings|
|9:45 A.M.||“Image and Understanding: Overcoming Error through Observation and Reason" by Dr. Jeremy Shipley, Vol State Philosophy|
|10:45 A.M.||“Eclipses in History and Culture” by Dr. Joe Douglas, Vol State History|
|11:45 A.M.||Jonathan Pettus, Associate Director of the NASA – George C. Marshall Space Flight Center|
|12:30 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.||Eclipse video feeds from other parts of country|
|7 A.M. - 3 P.M.||Athletic Department Concessions open for breakfast and lunch|
|9 A.M. - 1 P.M.||Kid and parent activities by Vol State faculty and staff volunteers
“Solar System Scale Model” -a gym sized model to explore
“Construct a Pinhole Camera” -use it to watch the eclipse
“Make a sun dial and see it in action” -take it outside to track the sun
“Astronomical and Earth Science Face Painting”
|10 A.M., 11 A.M., and 12 P.M.||Kid and family presentation and songs about eclipse phases and viewing an eclipse- Bob Swanson, Instructor of Physical Sciences / Geography, Itawamba Community College- Tupelo, MS|
|9 A.M.||Day kick-off with light, fun, family Yoga and discussion of how astronomical events are used in Yoga- by Joanna Blauw, Vol State Health and Fitness|
|10:30 A.M.||Lawn Welcome by Vol State President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner and eclipse viewing suggestions and warnings|
|11 A.M.||“Build a Solar Cooker Contest” -kids build sun powered cookers out of material we provide. It’s a race to cook hot dogs the quickest! Parents please attend with your child to participate.|
|11:15 A.M.||“What does it take to get good pictures of an eclipse? We talk to a Montgomery County Community College assistant professor of Physics, visiting from Pennsylvania. Kelli Corrado Spangler explains the Coronado Solar telescope.|
|11:30 A.M.||Why travel for a total eclipse? A conversation with Starr Livingstone, amateur astronomer from Ontario, Canada and member of the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada.|
|11:45 A.M.||“How the eclipse may or may not affect natural background radiation” by the Vol State Radiologic Technology Program|
|12:00 P.M.||Direct solar viewing can cause serious eye damage. There are some surprising people in history who damaged their eyes by looking directly at the Sun. We chat with Alisha Cornish, Director of the Vol State Ophthalmic Technology Program|
|12:30 P.M.||Solar Cooker Contest winners announced|
|1 P.M. - 2 P.M.||Eclipse Narration before and after totality, Bob Swanson, Itawamba Community College- Tupelo, MS|
|7 A.M. - 4 P.M.||Vol State Café open for breakfast and lunch|
|9 A.M. - 1 P.M.||Eclipse themed art work on display in the Nichols Dining Room|
|11 A.M.||Eclipse and astronomy themed poetry, story-telling and music|
The Eclipse Watch event will end at 3pm
The Vol State campus will close to the public at 6pm
Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers.Eclipse safety information
The first fact to understand about solar eclipses is that they occur because of a remarkable cosmic coincidence: the Sun is just about the same apparent size in our sky as the Moon. While the Sun is actually about 400 times larger in diameter than the Moon, the Moon is also about 400 times closer than the Sun. Therefore, the Sun and the Moon appear to be about the same size in our sky.
When you read about eclipses, the terms umbra and penumbra are frequently mentioned. These are the two types of shadow cast by the Moon. The umbra is the inner shadow. If you stand inside the path of the umbra, the Sun will be completely blocked in eclipse. The penumbra is the outer shadow. If you are outside the path of the umbra but inside the broader eclipse area, you will only see the Sun partially eclipsed.
If the orbit of the Moon were exactly within the same plane as the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, then total (or annular) solar eclipses would occur every lunar month. However, the orbit of the Moon has a tilt of about 5 degrees with respect to the Earth's orbit around the Sun.