MSU lecture to shine light on solar eclipse

Posted at 10:01 AM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 11:38:37-05

On Aug. 21, the moon will slip between the Earth and the Sun, creating one of nature’s most spectacular sights – a solar eclipse.

The full solar eclipse, which will be visible throughout much of the United States, will be the topic of a talk by Shannon Schmoll, director of Michigan State University’s Abrams Planetarium.

As part of the planetarium’s Astronomical Horizons lecture series, the talk, titled "The Great American Eclipse: Getting Ready for August 2017,” is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in the planetarium dome. The talk is open to the public and free of charge.

Schmoll will discuss what causes eclipses, how to view them safely and the factors that help predict them. She also will talk about how the August eclipse will appear in Michigan.

“The sun will be about 80 percent covered,” she said. “There will be some dimming and you might be able to see a few stars.”

However, Michigan skywatchers will not have to travel too far to get the full effect. The eclipse will fully darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles wide.

The Talbert and Leota Abrams Planetarium serves as an astronomy and space science education resource center for central Michigan. The planetarium is an outreach unit of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, supporting astronomy teaching on campus as well as offering a variety of planetarium shows to the public – preschool through senior citizens.