Clear skies or no, the eclipse is coming
Even with clouds in the forecast, the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse will remain a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
On the first day of the fall semester, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will celebrate the eclipse in a variety of ways — from a live play-by-play as the moon slowly blocks the sun to launching balloons to study the event. See a complete list of activities and related news below.
The Lincoln area is forecast to have 50 percent cloud cover during the eclipse, which starts around 11:30 a.m. and reaches totality shortly after 1 p.m. And, while cloud cover may allow only intermittent views of the event, Dan Claes, chair and professor of physics and astronomy, said students, faculty and staff should still get outside and experience the event.
"If we're lucky, there will be a clear spot overhead at the moment of totality," Claes said. "If not, a total solar eclipse is still an amazing experience."
Totality — when the moon completely blocks light from the sun — will last for nearly 90 seconds in Lincoln. During totality, without cloud cover, the corona of the sun is visible to the human eye. While in the moon's shadow, temperatures will drop, skies will turn black like night, and animal/insect activity changes briefly.
"Totality will be unmistakable even under and overcast sky," Claes said. "The temperature should drop and it will go from the light of an overcast afternoon to the dark of midnight."
Nebraska is not canceling classes on Aug. 21. However, Donde Plowman, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, has encouraged faculty with courses scheduled during the eclipse to interrupt class if possible.
The university will distribute solar glasses to students, faculty and staff starting at 9 a.m. at locations on City and East campuses For more information on the eclipse, stories and links to campus-related events on Aug. 21, see below.
Time — The eclipse process will last 2 hours and 52 minutes, starting around 11:35 a.m. The sun will be completely blocked by the moon for nearly 90 seconds, starting about 1:03 p.m. The eclipse process will end by 2:30 p.m. Access a solar eclipse interactive map.
Special Glasses Needed — The university will distribute solar glasses at some back-to-school events and at multiple campus locations on Aug. 21. It is not safe to look directly at the sun during the eclipse process as it can cause retina damage. The sun can be viewed safely with the glasses during the eclipse or by the naked eye when the sun is completely blocked. On the day of the eclipse, solar glasses will be distributed on City and East campuses. The glasses will be available at City Campus residence hall dining halls; starting at 9 a.m. near Meier Commons, the plaza north of the Nebraska Union and the north side of Love Library North; and at 11 a.m. on the East Campus Mall, near Oldfather Hall, between Hamilton Hall and Sheldon Museum of Art, and the green space south of Manter Hall. The glasses will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Primary campus watch areas include the green space north of the Nebraska Union and East Campus Mall. Learn more about the eclipse.
Class is in Session — The eclipse will occur on the first day of the fall 2017 semester and classes are not being canceled. However, Donde Plowman, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, has encouraged faculty with courses scheduled during the eclipse to interrupt class if possible.
Live Play-by-Play — The university will livestream play-by-play of the eclipse from the student observatory atop the Stadium Drive parking garage. The play-by-play will include Dan Claes, professor and chair of physics and astronomy; Tim Gay, professor of physics and astronomy; and Richard Green, astronomy professor at the University of Arizona. The livestream, which is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., will be available on the Nebraska homepage and via university social media pages.
Tune In — The university has created a playlist to commemorate the eclipse. The list, "Total Eclipse of the Heartland," is available via Spotify.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame — The university will host a science and engineering expo in conjunction with the Aug. 21 Lincoln Saltdogs baseball game at Hawks Field. The science fair, which begins at 11 a.m., will feature 15 stations with activities led by Nebraska students, faculty and staff. The Saltdogs have partnered with the Department of Physics and will stop the game during the 90 seconds of total eclipse. The game, which starts at noon, will also feature a series of university-made videos about the eclipse and the live stream play-by-play.