July 31, 2017
On Monday, August 21, a swath of North America will experience a total eclipse of the sun, the first eclipse to cross the entire United States since 1918. Karen Schwarz, director of WCU's Mather Planetarium, will host a free, public viewing party on the University's Academic Quad from 1 to 4 p.m. Telescopes and eclipse glasses will be available for guests to safely watch the progress of the moon as it passes between Earth and the sun.
Likely, no WCU undergraduate students were alive at the time of the last total solar eclipse. That was in 1979, the year Sony introduced the Walkman ($200), and just after the disco movement began.
This year, because West Chester is not in the path of totality, we will be treated to about 75 percent coverage of the sun by the moon. The path of the total eclipse crosses North America from Salem, OR, to Charleston, SC. In our time zone, the moon begins to cover the sun at 1:06 p.m. The height of the eclipse is at 2:43 p.m. and the eclipse – and Schwarz's viewing party – will conclude at 4 p.m.
Schwarz has planned educational activities for all ages during the entire event, which will take place rain or shine. In case of cloudy weather, activities will continue on the quad but solar viewing may not be possible. In case of rain, the event will be moved to Ehinger Gymnasium (South Church Street at University Avenue), where activities will take place and a live stream of the eclipse from a different location will be shown.
This event is free. Questions about the event should be directed to the planetarium director Karen Schwarz.