The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina

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Citadel News Service
11 Aug 2017

2017 Solar Eclipse at The Citadel

Activities for the once-in-a-lifetime event include a public seminar and science experiments

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The road less traveled happens to be in the path of totality for the 2017 total solar eclipse. An event that will not happen again for at least another three decades will occur Monday, Aug. 21, and will be fully visible from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. On this day, a total solar eclipse of the sun will cover The Citadel campus in darkness for approximately one minute and 33 seconds before returning to daylight. Citadel faculty, staff, cadets and students are encouraged to take part in this event by participating in campus festivities.

“For most of us, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Citadel Provost and Dean of the College Connie Ledoux Book, Ph.D. “Just like a photograph of the Grand Canyon cannot convey the grandeur of being there in person, a photo or a video of the total eclipse is not a substitute for witnessing what will most likely be the celestial event of the century.”

Here’s a quick look at what The Citadel is doing for this rare event:

Physics Department to host public seminar on the eclipse
7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 19
Byrd Hall, room 108
Free and open to the public

An informational seminar open to the public led by faculty in the Physics Department at The Citadel will include information about eclipses, how they are produced and how to view them with caution.

  • Professor Patrick R. Briggs, Ph.D., will discuss the math and mechanics of an eclipse, specifically shadow cones, elliptical orbits, the Saros Cycle and other kinematic phenomena.
  • Professor Luke S. Sollitt, Ph.D., will discuss the physics of an eclipse including the solar corona, coronal mass ejection and other dynamic phenomena observed during totality.
  • Professor Joel C. Berlinghieri, Ph.D., will present information on the visual and audio recordings of an eclipse. Ways to take DSLR photographic and camcorder video recordings with solar filters will be discussed, as well as optimal settings for ISO, aperture, and shutter speed during eclipse totality.


Citadel faculty, staff, cadets and students to receive briefings, glasses for safe viewing

Many in the 2017 eclipse’s path are planning to stop and observe above as daylight turns to night. However, uninformed viewing of the sun during eclipse transitions can be damaging to the eyes and have lasting effects. It is crucial that spectators be informed on the ways to view the eclipse safely. Prior to the eclipse, safety briefings will be presented to promote responsible viewing. While supplies last, safety glasses will also be provided to spectators on The Citadel campus.

  • Cadets will be briefed on eclipse safety, and safety glasses will be distributed at breakfast in the mess hall on Monday, Aug. 21.
  • Staff and other students will be briefed on eclipse safety via a safety video and will be able to pick up safety glasses at Daniel Library the morning of Monday, Aug. 21.
  • Faculty will be able to pick up safety glasses following a safety briefing at the General Faculty Meeting held on the morning of Monday, Aug. 21.

Citadel-distributed safety glasses meet the NASA specifications for safe viewing (ISO 12312-2). Please review the campus safety alert regarding the eclipse provided by David Orr, director of environmental health and safety, here.

Eclipse 2017 at The Citadel
Monday, Aug. 21
12 – 3:00 p.m.
Various parts of The Citadel campus
Limited to Citadel faculty, staff, cadets, students, pre-approved guests and media

The Physics Department at The Citadel is coordinating a campus event and eclipse experiments during the North American Solar Eclipse. solareclipse

The events kick off at noon in Coward Hall when department of physics faculty and cadets present eclipse eye-safety briefings to cadets at lunch in the mess hall. At 2:00 p.m., the entire campus community is invited to view the eclipse on Summerall Field until totality occurs at approximately 2:46 p.m.

While The Citadel campus is viewing the eclipse on Summerall Field, physics professors Saul Adelman, Ph.D.; Mikhail Agrest, Ph.D.; Joel Berlinghieri, Ph.D.; John Bradham, Ph.D.; Patrick Briggs, Ph.D.; Russell Hilleke, Ph.D.; Jim Near, M.S.; and Luke Sollitt, Ph.D., will conduct measurements during several ground-based and high-altitude balloon experiments. The professors will break up into groups to get atmospheric measurements within the path of the eclipse in upstate South Carolina, Orangeburg, South Carolina and The Citadel campus.

Experiment plans include:

  • Monitoring of micro-climate changes using three portable weather stations aligned across the path of the eclipse
  • Taking photographic and video recordings using astronomical telescopes and telephoto digital single-lens reflex cameras with solar blocking filters
  • Photographing from a high altitude balloon to supplement astronomical and telephoto recordings


Renowned scientific research society to view eclipse at The Citadel

The School of Math and Science at The Citadel will host a group from Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society, to view the eclipse Monday, Aug. 21.

Over 50 scientists apart of Sigma Xi will travel by bus from North Carolina to view the eclipse on The Citadel’s campus. South Carolina is one of 14 states that will be able to view the eclipse in totality, Charleston being one of the optimal locations in the country. The group plans to arrive in Charleston by Sunday afternoon and spend the rest of the day touring the Holy City. On the day of the eclipse, the group will gather on Summerall Field on campus by 2 p.m. to view the eclipse in totality before departing back to the Sigma Xi headquarters.

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