Timothy Farris prepares early for upcoming solar eclipse

by Cole Miller

A once in a lifetime opportunity is coming very soon. Aug. 21, 2017, at approximately 1:27 p.m., a total solar eclipse will be occurring in the greater Gallatin area and throughout the majority of the country, the states being: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the moon fully or partially blocks, or occults, the Sun. This can only happen at the new moon phase of the moon phases. When the Moon and Sun are aligned, it appears as if the Sun is being blocked out, with only a ring of rays appearing.

“This is a major event, a once in a lifetime opportunity most likely. There are an estimated 100 thousand to one million people coming to Tennessee to see the eclipse. It will be visible here on campus, and it will occur for about 2 minutes,” said Tim Farris, professor of Physics and Engineering at Volunteer State Community College. Farris is assisting with the Sumner County Visitors Bureau in preparation for the solar eclipse.

If Vol State has not already begun the Fall Semester by the time the eclipse gets here, some of the cities that will be able to view the eclipse are: Nashville, Clarksville, Gallatin, Portland, Westmoreland, Springfield, Lebanon, Baxter, Sparta, Crossville, Dayton, White House, and Carthage, the full list can be found at www.eclipse2017.org.

“I would totally watch the eclipse if I am on campus,” said Mariah Adcock, student, “I’ve always wanted to see one, and now I’m finally getting a chance.”

The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the United States was on July 11, 1991, and was only visible from Hawaii and Mexico, it lasted roughly 6 minutes and 53 seconds. The last time a total solar eclipse touched within the contiguous 48 states in the United States occurred on Feb. 26, 1979, according to the Great American Eclipse website, which can be found at www.greatamericaneclipse.com.

In order to view the eclipse without damaging your corneas, you will need a special pair of glasses to view the phenomenon. You can order them online or you can make pinhole projector. There are numerous tutorials on how to make a pinhole projector, and how to correctly use them.

You cannot view the eclipse without the glasses or pinhole, so make sure to get them before Aug. 21, 2017.

Another way to view the eclipse safely, is to point a telescope directly at the Sun, and hold a piece of paper or cardboard next to where your eye would go. Rather than looking through the telescope, you would look at the cardboard or paper, where the eclipse will also be appearing.

However, if you would rather just look up at the Sun, you will need special glasses, sunglasses will not work.

The next total solar eclipse after this one that will be visible in the United States is speculated to occur on April 8, 2024, but may not be visible in Tennessee.