On Monday, August 21, 2017 there will be a coast-to-coast total solar eclipse crossing the US, the first one in almost a century. The Physics Department has chartered a bus to go down to Columbia, SC in the region of totality (all spaces have been taken); we expect to go to the South Carolina State Fairgrounds where many events are planned. If you can go to the region of totality, by all means do so, but plan ahead-traffic may be congested.
A total eclipse is certainly the most impressive astronomical phenomenon observable on Earth. But a very strong partial eclipse will be visible in Durham: the sun will be over 92% eclipsed at 2:44PM. It is never safe to look directly at the sun during a partial eclipse, unless you are using eclipse glasses.
David Ticehurst, a postdoctoral associate in TUNL who conducted astronomy research as an undergraduate, has worked with his former advisor Prof. Jay M. Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College, to put together a short pamphlet on eclipse science as well as a simple website with more scientific reading on the eclipse. Additionally, Ticehurst has received a box of 100 eclipse viewing glasses, courtesy of the American Astronomical Society and Google, and generously shared them with the Physics Department. If you would like a pair, please pick up one from the front office.
8/3/17 Update: That was fast! We are out of eclipse-viewing glasses.