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Solar eclipse-focused events lead up to watch party on April 8

The College of Science at Notre Dame has public lectures and eclipse-themed planetarium shows planned both on and off campus in the weeks and days leading up to the near-total solar eclipse on April 8, when an eclipse watch party is planned. Each event is free and open to the public.

Plan on rocking some eclipse glasses on the afternoon of April 8 (Monday) as Notre Dame and the surrounding community experience an almost total solar eclipse.

The College of Science at the University of Notre Dame has public lectures and eclipse-themed planetarium shows planned both on and off campus in the weeks and days leading up to the eclipse. An eclipse watch party is scheduled on April 8. Each event is free and open to the public.

“We’re excited to bring everyone together to learn about eclipses, and then enjoy the event together,” said Keith Davis, director of the Digital Visualization Theater at Notre Dame. “The next total solar eclipses in North America won’t happen until 2044 and 2045, so this will be a rare opportunity for many of us.”

More details about each event can be found on the College of Science website for the following:

  • Planetarium show, “Get Ready for the April 8 Solar Eclipse!” 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 13) in the Digital Visualization Theater, Room 100, Jordan Hall of Science.

  • Discussion of historical solar eclipses at 6:30 p.m. March 19 (Tuesday), Room 105, Jordan Hall of Science.

  • Lecture, “What if the Sun Doesn’t Come Back?” Talk begins at 6:30 p.m. March 27 (Wednesday) at the St. Joseph County Public Library Main Branch Auditorium, 304 S. Main St., South Bend. 

  • Lecture, “Eclipses in Outer Space: How Astrophysicists Use Eclipses of other Stars to Find New Planets.” Talk begins at 6:30 p.m. April 2 (Tuesday) at the St. Joseph Public Library Main Branch Auditorium.

  • Planetarium show,  “Into the Shadow.” 6 and 7:30 p.m. April 4 (Thursday) and 7 p.m. April 5 (Friday), Room 100, Jordan Hall of Science.

  • Eclipse watch party on the Irish Green from 1 to 4:30 p.m. April 8. The entire eclipse event in South Bend will begin at 1:53 p.m., reach 97 percent totality at 3:09 p.m. and end at 4:08 p.m.

At each event, attendees will have the opportunity to pick up some eclipse glasses, which are crucial for viewing the eclipse. Davis emphasized that people should never look at the sun directly, not even during a partial eclipse event, or they can permanently damage their eyesight.

During a total solar eclipse, the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, casting the darkest parts of its shadow on regions of the Earth. This completely blocks the face of the sun from those regions. Although the moon is between the sun and Earth during every new moon, it’s usually not perfectly aligned, so its shadow doesn’t usually land on the Earth.

During this year’s eclipse, the moon will block the sun in certain areas from Mexico to Maine, and the sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk. Indiana will experience totality, or 100 percent blockage of the sun, in an approximately 115-mile-wide stretch diagonally from Evansville to just south of Fort Wayne.

Originally published by Deanna Csomo Ferrell at science.nd.edu on Feb. 1.

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