SIUC plans activities for annular solar eclipse Oct. 14

SIU getting ready for partial solar eclipse this weekend.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 5:41 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2023 at 6:18 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Southern Illinois University Carbondale will hold a viewing event for an annular solar eclipse on Saturday, October 14.

No registration or tickets will be required to attend the event.

According to a release from SIUC, the eclipse is a “naturally occurring warm-up” for the total solar eclipse in April.

“It is similar to what you see an hour or so leading up to a total solar eclipse, but that is where the similarity between annular and total ends,” said Bob Baer, specialist in the School of Physics and Applied Physics and co-chair of SIU’s eclipse committee.

This solar eclipse will be along a path from Oregon to Texas. It involves the moon passing between the sun and Earth while the moon is at or near its farthest point from Earth. To a viewer on Earth, this prevents the moon from completely covering the sun.

Baer and Eclipse Chaser Mike Kentrianakis will be viewing the eclipse down in Texas. Baer says this is a way for them to test out their equipment months before the total solar eclipse.

“We get to test our equipment a little bit more, we get to take a little more data and really some of it is getting used to using the equipment and used to doing those broadcast and those streams that we will be doing on the big day,” Baer said. “In the direct path, viewers will see 90 percent coverage of the sun, which means it will not get dark the way it does during a total solar eclipse, nor will the corona be visible.”

In southern Illinois, however, you will be able to see a partial solar eclipse during the event. Baer said the sun will be obscured a maximum of 64 percent, and it will appear as a crescent when viewed through solar glasses or solar telescopes.

Baer says even though this is not a total solar eclipse, this will still be a sight to see.

“It’s cool if you know what’s going on but you need the solar viewers or the solar glasses to look at it,” Baer said. “And what you’ll see in our area is the moon covers the sun and makes a crescent which is kind of cool--you can definitely tell the moon is in between the sun and the earth.”

According to the release, the university will provide solar telescopes, family-friendly hands-on astronomy and science activities, as well as informational tabling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Saluki Stadium.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets, as well as photography or telescope equipment. You can also watch from the Saluki Stadium seating.

As a note, they say viewers should not look at the sun with the naked eye. SIU will have eclipse viewing glasses available at no charge.

The annular eclipse begins at 10:33 a.m. and ends at 1:30 p.m. with maximum eclipse at 11:59 a.m.

Organizers say there will be live television feeds of the annular eclipse from across the country on the stadium’s big screen, while NASA EDGE television will be filming inside Saluki Stadium.

The day before the eclipse, on Oct. 13, the university will host Blair Allen, NASA EDGE producer and co-host, who will give a talk as part of SIU’s Eclipse Talk Series.

Allen’s travels for NASA EDGE have taken him around the globe.

He will speak at 3 p.m. in the Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library, with the talk also streamed live on Zoom.