SIUE Physics Dept. shines bright in the 2017 Solar Eclipse

SIUE welcomed over 14,000 students back to campus on its first day, with a rare solar eclipse viewing on campus. At SIUE, the solar eclipse reached 99.5 totality at 1:18pm, offering one of the best viewing locations in the Metro East area.

“Everybody was excited and ready with their glasses,” said Marcus Powell, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). “It was nice seeing everyone out on the Quad together.”

Dean of CAS College of Arts and Sciences Gregory Budzban at Korte Stadium in Edwardsville, IL

Professors and students from the Department of Physics were on hand to share knowledge on the rare solar eclipse. The Department also offered the crowds a unique experience of viewing the eclipse on solar telescopes that transmitted a live video feed of the event at different viewing sites across the university campus. These viewing sites allowed for audiences to safely observe the eclipse without the use of the recommended safety glasses, with one of the viewing sites being open to the public at Korte Stadium, with an excess of 1,000 viewers attending.

“For some people, this will be a once in a lifetime experience and, for younger students, hopefully it will be an inspiration to understand and appreciate science,” said Abdullatif Hamad, PhD, professor of physics in CAS.

The SIUE campus ended up being an ideal situation for on-goers of the event. Some viewers could take in the site of the eclipse in glasses around the quad, while others who wanted to learn more about the eclipse could seek out more information on the eclipse at one telescope view stations. The stations served as both a viewing place and an educational outreach position on behalf of the Physics Department.

“It’s a remarkably rare event,” said Thomas Foster, Professor of Physics at SIUE. With a near perfect eclipse viewing, at 99.5% of the moon obstructing view of the sun. “While the eclipses themselves happen roughly every 18 months you’ve got to be in the right place and the planet has to be aligned exactly right and everything else has to be just perfect for us to get an eclipse.”

Foster said its part of SIUE’s mission to serve the community so the viewing party is fully equipped to help educate and inform the public about today’s eclipse.

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