Auburn’s students will be welcomed back to classes on a darker day this fall.
On Aug. 21, a solar eclipse will cast a shadow of unbelievable size on Auburn. At the eclipse’s peak, Auburn will experience 91.64 percent coverage. Most people only experience an eclipse once in their life. Many professors and departments want to be sure students are prepared to experience the solar eclipse safely. There are a plethora of events planned for campus life as well as the community.
Ameya Kolarkar, College of Science and Mathematics faculty member, will be traveling to the point of totality in South Carolina and will not be present when Auburn goes dark. He wants to be sure his fellow students are prepared, though.
Partnering with Housing and Residence Life, Kolarkar will be leading a Solar Eclipse Viewing Pre-Party on Aug. 19 at 3 p.m. Kolarkar will be stationed in front of Aubie Hall for the event.
“Students are not usually into physics and astronomy, so this gives us another way to bring the Liberal Arts students, for example, into the world of physics,” Kolarkar said. “We want them to be awed by what is happening rather than scared.”
Kolarkar will be explaining what happens when a solar eclipse occurs and why. There will be crafts and activities centered around understanding the solar eclipse. Kolarkar said the event will be a great way to welcome students living in student housing.
“No matter what happens, you must not look at the sun with your naked eyes,” Kolarkar said. “Since we do not have a totality, the sun will be visible at all times.”
Kolarkar said the first 200 people will be given solar viewing glasses that will allow them to look at the sun during the solar eclipse. There will also be Sun Chips for guests to eat.
On Aug. 21, Auburn will have six spots for students and community members to set up shop and watch the eclipse. Solar viewing glasses will be distributed at this time too, while supplies last. The main event will be on on the Student Center Green Space.
At 10 a.m. events will begin on the Green Space. These events include giveaways, art activities and on-hand experts to answer all questions students and community members may have. College of Science and Mathematics have displayed a map of the multiple different locations on their website for students who would prefer to check out all of the stops.
The peak of the solar eclipse will be at 1:36 p.m. and activities end at 2 p.m.
“It is a very rare event,” Kolarkar said. “What you see when this happens you will never be able to see anywhere else.”
Kolarkar said students should expect a drop in temperature, an eery darkness and a feeling that one can not explain. He said animals are expected to act strange, for those who have college pets.
“If you look back a few hundred years ago, people were literally killed, murdered and put into prison for saying that the sun is in the middle of the solar system and not the Earth,” Kolarkar said. “Now we know more and we are able to understand events like this.”