Clemson Launches ‘Eclipse Over Clemson’ Web Page and Blog

Monday, April 10, 2017
Solar Eclipse

Clemson University has launched a new “Eclipse Over Clemson” web page and blog devoted to the Aug. 21st solar eclipse.

Go to for updates, events, educational materials and everything else you’ll need to know about witnessing this extraordinary event with family, friends and thousands of others on the Clemson campus.

The department of physics and astronomy in the College of Scienceis making plans for Clemson University to serve as the hub for eclipse watchers up and down the Eastern Seaboard. South Carolina is the shortest trip for any of the 11.5 million people living in the Atlantic states who wish to travel to the path of totality.

Clemson is centrally located within a narrow band that will cross the United States from the coasts of Oregon to South Carolina. Anyone within this band will experience a little more than two minutes of totality — when the moon fully blocks the light of the bright solar surface allowing a glimpse of the delicate outer layer of the sun. Those outside this slim path will see a less dramatic partial eclipse in which the moon appears to take a bite out of the sun, but never completely blocks its light.

Souvenir eclipse shades that are certified for the user to view the sun without harm will be available at the central viewing location on campus on the day of the eclipse. Astrophysicists and other eclipse experts will be available to answer questions about viewing the eclipse safely, demonstrate the special alignment that allows eclipses to occur and discuss what new knowledge astronomers hope to gain about the sun during this eclipse. You can also get involved in eclipse research by learning how to participate in citizen science projects.

Clemson University is still in the process of refining plans for its eclipse viewing party. Updates about the day’s events, related activities and other fun eclipse news will be posted on this page as they become available.

Other questions not addressed on the website can be directed to Amber Porter, lecturer in the department of physics and astronomy, using the email address [email protected].

Clemson astrophysicist set to collect data for the National Solar Observatory 

In an effort that is being organized by the Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) Experiment, a fleet of 60 identical telescopes will be strung out along the path of totality during the solar eclipse. Each telescope will be pointed toward the sun and will take a series of photographs of the star every 10 seconds over the duration of totality, which lasts for about 2.5 minutes at each location.

Sean Brittain, professor of physics and astronomy at Clemson University, will be taking images for the Citizen CATE experiment. Clemson is in a perfect location because it is located within the path of totality. Brittain will use an 80-millimeter (about 3 inches) diameter refracting telescope equipped with a glass lens to form the image of the sun that will be recorded by a digital camera. For high-quality images, Brittain will use a MATLAB program that was specially written for the Citizen CATE experiment to control the telescope and to ensure that his photographs will have the proper exposure and focus.

(Written by Amber Porter and Jim Melvin, College of Science.)