Sunday, May 19, 2024

How to prepare for eclipse day

A show at the North Country Planetarium in Hudson Hall projects an image of the stages of eclipse.


By Brionne Thompson

We have reached the most anticipated astronomical event in years — the total solar eclipse is just days away. 

People have traveled far and wide to view it from here, because Plattsburgh has some of the best views of the eclipse, even making national news. 

“A nearby hotel took a reservation for the eclipse seven years ago, in 2017, with a pen and paper because the computer couldn’t book rooms that far ahead,” New York Times reporter Michael Wilson wrote.

The eclipse is a huge deal and we are looking at it from a vantage point.

SUNY Plattsburgh’s web page dedicated to this year’s total solar eclipse describes it as when the moon shadows across North America, momentarily blocking the sun. The college community has a great view of it, but it wouldn’t be as fun without making sure students, faculty and staff are kept safe — they need to have the correct type of eyewear to make sure they don’t damage their vision. 

Regular sunglasses are not enough, according to a campus-wide email from Director of Emergency Management Michael Caraballo. The only time it is safe to look at the eclipse unprotected is when it is in its totality phase, which is when the moon is fully covering the sun. This time period is only from 3:26 to 3:29 p.m. — about three minutes.

Safety glasses are available today, April 5 at the Angell College Center from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Glasses will also be provided with refreshments at the Hawkins Pond Eclipse Watch Party from 2 to 4:30 p.m. April 8. 

Today is also filled with informative and fun eclipse-related programming on campus. In one session from 9 to 9:50 a.m., also available on Zoom, professor of behavioral neuroscience Jennifer Bremser will talk about neurocosmic curiosity and assistant professor of social and personality psychology Andrew Christy will share what it was like to witness his first eclipse in 2017. 

Another highlight is a demonstration of a sculpture commemorating the eclipse with a mixture of bronze and aluminum poured by the artist, associate professor of art Drew Goerlitz.

The pour will take place at the podium overlooking the sculpture yard near Myers Fine Arts Building from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. 

There is even a modern-day spin on the phenomenon at Cardinal Lounge from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. called “The Symbolic Significance of Eclipses in Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which can be interesting to those who want to understand how creative media covers celestial symbolism and reflect on other representations of the eclipse in TV and cinema. 

For those looking for something more laid-back, from 4:15 to 4:45 p.m., there will be a joke workshop, where they can learn about comedy and what a good joke entails, but still about eclipses. 

To end the day, there will be a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in Myers’ lobby to wind down from all the special events and to prepare for a theatrical presentation called “this is how we walk on the moon.” This show is about outer space and humans interacting with it. To attend, students will need to pay a fee of $3, while general admission stands at $8.

Check out these and other events in more detail on SUNY Plattsburgh’s Eclipse 2024 web page

The Totality Conference is an opportunity to learn about celestial events or astronomy, starting with eclipses. 

Stay informed of safety procedures and make sure to pick up safety glasses and be safe during the eclipse. The next one won’t come around until 2044.

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