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Luther College makes plans for a solar eclipse viewing

Posted: Tue, Aug 8, 2017 1:26 PM

The Luther College Society of Physics Students and Preus Library will be holding a solar eclipse observation event on the library lawn.

On Monday, August 21st, all of North America will experience a solar eclipse. The path of totality -- the path the moon's shadow traces on the earth during a total solar eclipse -- will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. Decorah lies just outside of this path, so observers in NE Iowa will experience a partial solar eclipse, but it will be significant.

Luther College Professor of Physics Jeff Wilkerson says, "It's really uncommon for people to be able to view an eclipse of this magnitude. In this area, 87 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon's shadow. It will be a special event as every location in the U.S. will experience some part of the eclipse."

Wilkerson says the next time NE Iowa will experience an eclipse of this depth will be in 2099. There will be another partial eclipse in 2024, but it won't be as deep as the one that will occur on August 21st.

The eclipse will begin in Decorah around 11:46 a.m. and will end about 2:34 p.m. At the height of the eclipse around 1:10 p.m., 87 percent of the sun will be eclipsed. Members of Luther's Society of Physics Students will be on hand at the event and will have observing glasses and pinhole projection systems to allow for safe viewing.

An interpretive display along with information on the upcoming eclipse will be available in Preus Library beginning Monday. The public is invited to view the information prior to the event and also attend the viewing on August 21st on the Preus Library lawn.