Friday, August 4, 2017

The Great American Eclipse Viewing Party at Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Experience one of America’s greatest celestial wonders by attending The Great American Eclipse viewing party at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC). The CGCC Physical Sciences and Engineering Division, and the Astronomy Department, is hosting a viewing party for students and the local community on Monday, August 21st. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience this rare astronomical moment by viewing the total eclipse through specialty telescopes while learning about its significance from CGCC astronomers. In addition to the viewing party, CGCC will live stream the eclipse on the campus Facebook page for viewers alike.
“This event is important to the CGCC community as it puts us in contact with multiple parts of our history, and of the development of astronomy as a science and the beautiful nature of this cosmic alignment,” said Ángel G. Fuentes, CGCC Astronomer and faculty member. “Students, staff, and the community will have a chance to take a closer look at the sun in a safe manner. They will be able to see sunspots (if any are visible), and slowly see the moon moving in front of the sun.”

The Great American Eclipse, is a total solar eclipse stretching across the United States going from Oregon through the heartland of the U.S., all the way to South Carolina. This type of eclipse has not been seen for almost 100 years. The last total solar eclipse that was visible in the U.S. from coast-to-coast was on June 8, 1918. Totality of the eclipse will only be visible in the path of the umbra, the darkest part of the eclipse’s shadow, which includes Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina. The eclipse will appear as a partial eclipse everywhere else in the continental U.S.
A solar eclipse occurs when the sun, the moon, and the earth align. Sunlight hits the moon, and the moon casts its shadow into space. As the moon, and the earth move in their respective orbits, the shadow of the moon moves over specific parts of the surface of the Earth. This creates the eclipse. “This eclipse is also special because its totality will only be visible from American soil,” said Prof. Fuentes. “Eclipses have been an important part of the history of our civilization, and have come to mean different things to different cultures. Eclipses have particularly special meaning to Native tribes, Mesoamerican, Aboriginal, Celtic, and Greek cultures, just to name a few.”

Event attendees will have the opportunity to view the eclipse in a safe manner through telescopes equipped with certified sun filters making it safe to look at the eclipse. There will also be demonstrations on how to build a pinhole camera which is another safe, easy option to view the eclipse. “It is important that people never look directly at the sun, even during an eclipse,” said Prof. Fuentes. “There are many easy options people can use to view the eclipse such as a homemade pinhole camera, a pasta strainer, number 14 welder’s glasses or certified eclipse glasses. Never ever use a telescopes or binoculars to look at the sun without a properly certified filter.”

The Great American viewing party will take place on Monday, August 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in front of Ironwood Hall on the Pecos Campus, by the Grounds for Thought coffee shop. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the eclipse visit

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