CLEMSON — Here’s what you need to know to see the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse at Clemson University’s “Eclipse Over Clemson” viewing party.
The eclipse will begin at 1:07 p.m. and end at 4:02 p.m. But the totality of the eclipse — the part that spectators will find most fascinating — will begin at 2:37 p.m. and last, coincidentally, 2 minutes and 37 seconds.
The free, family-friendly “Eclipse Over Clemson” event — sponsored by the College of Science with additional sponsorship by the Watt Family Innovation Center — begins several hours before the start of the eclipse.
There is no charge to attend “Eclipse Over Clemson” and no need for tickets. The only costs will be for any food and beverages you might choose to purchase and for one special “tailgazing” parking area. All other parking is free.
Solar glasses are free (and they are vitally important)
We will be giving out up to 50,000 free pairs of solar glasses. These eclipse-viewing shades, which are certified for users to view the sun without harm during the eclipse, will be distributed at strategic locations on the campus on the day of the eclipse. They are not available for preorder.
To avoid injury to your eyes, you must wear these any time you are looking directly at the sun. However, there is one exception: During the brief eclipse totality, it will be safe — and is highly recommended — to remove the glasses and watch totality with the naked eye. But when totality ends, you must wear the again to look at the sun.
Responsibility for wearing the solar glasses at the appropriate time lies with each spectator or parents or guardians of children.
For more information, go to How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely.
Where to park, when to arrive
There will be plenty of free parking in several lots that are within relatively easy walking distance of the main venues. Both the east and west campus shuttles will be available from some parking lots for those who choose to ride, and the Clemson Area Transit (CAT) buses will also be running the normal Red and Campus route schedules. There also will be reserved parking for those with disabilities.
Please carpool. Expect traffic to be relatively similar to game-day traffic, so we advise that you arrive early. More specific details about parking, including the location of the parking lots and what time they open, will be published soon on the “Eclipse Over Clemson” webpage and “Eclipse Over Clemson” Facebook page.
Spectators also can enjoy the expansive view of the sky from a designated “tailgazing” spot at the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center near Hartwell Lake between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. You can learn more about reserving a spot here. and Proceeds from the tailgazing parking will go toward enhancing student experiences at the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center.
Events of special interest
From the rooftop of the Watt Family Innovation Center, Sean Brittain, professor of physics and astronomy at Clemson University, will be taking images for the Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) Experiment. Brittain will use an 80-millimeter (about 3-inch) diameter refracting telescope equipped with a glass lens to form the image of the sun that will be recorded by a digital camera.
Brittain’s images will be livestreamed on monitors outside and inside the Watt Center, as well as on select monitors throughout the university. His telescope is one of more than 70 that will be placed along the path of totality across the United States during the eclipse.
A team of scientists from the University of Maine and Montana State University will be launching a video-equipped balloon 100,000 feet into the atmosphere to livestream the eclipse from the edge of space. This video will also be shown on monitors throughout campus.
Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center (SMLC) will monitor eclipse chatter around the world to share with media.
Scientists, dignitaries and media
Among the speakers at “Eclipse Over Clemson” will be:
• Clemson University President James P. Clements (accompanied by the Tiger Band);
• Founding Dean of the College of Science Cynthia Young;
• College of Science expert physicists and astronomers Mark Leising, Sean Brittain, Dieter Hartmann, Jeremy King, Amber Porter and Chad Sosolik;
• College of Science conservationist Rob Baldwin;
• Renowned “eclipse-chaser” Rick Brown; and
• University of Maine electrical engineer Richard Eason.
Most local media will be represented and also planning to attend are crews from The Weather Channel, CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, NPR, The Washington Post and Scientific American, among others.
A portion of the venue space will be reserved for amateur astronomers and photographers who would like to record the total solar eclipse from a secure location. To reserve a spot, contact Mate Adamkovics (email@example.com) prior to Aug. 7. Space is limited, so contact Adamkovics as soon as possible.
Amenities, first aid, other information
There will be food, beverages and plenty of bottled water available. There also are a half-dozen restaurants within convenient walking distance of the inner campus and food trucks will be on-site. However, it is welcomed (and encouraged) for you to bring your own food and drink. Alcohol will not be served at this event. You might also consider bringing blankets and foldable chairs for a picnic-style view of the eclipse.
There also will be restroom facilities.
A large team of student volunteers – wearing Clemson-orange VOLUNTEER T-shirts – will be on hand to answer questions and give directions. The Watt Family Innovation Center will be open to the public, providing a break from the expected summer heat as well as displaying internal views of the eclipse on its numerous high-resolution monitors.
A first-aid station will be located near the Strom Thurmond Institute and emergency personnel will be on hand.
Coffee table book
Clemson University plans to produce a hard-cover, coffee table book with dozens of photos of the eclipse and its attendees and chapters written by several Clemson scientists and writers. To pre-order or receive updates on the publication date of the book sign up at http://www.clemson.edu/science/departments/physics-astro/news-events/eclipsebook.html. You will not need to pay for the book at this time.