Southeast Physics Professor Giving Talks in June on Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse

Dr. Peggy Hill, professor of physics at Southeast Missouri State University, will give two upcoming community talks in Perryville and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to prepare residents for the total solar eclipse occurring on Aug. 21.

The presentations, titled “Eclipse 101: Preparing for Darkness at Noon,” are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 1 in the Perry Park Center in Perryville, Missouri, and 6-7:30 p.m. June 20 at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. Both talks are free and open to the public.

The presentation will help participants learn there is more to the skies than just star-gazing.

Some of nature’s most spectacular astronomical phenomena were, at times, terrifying to our ancestors, said Hill. This free information session will help people understand the science of the upcoming solar eclipse. Hill will help participants cut through the superstition and learn valuable tips for safe-viewing, as well as offer educational activities the entire family can enjoy.

“We will also talk about local astronomical resources, upcoming events and opportunities to learn more,” she said.

Hill will also discuss the Citizen CATE experiment site where research will be conducted on Aug. 21 in Perryville. Citizen CATE is a nationwide endeavor by citizen astronomers at more than 60 U.S. sites, including Perryville, positioned along the “path of totality” taking images of the brightness of the inner solar corona during the upcoming Aug. 21 eclipse as it passes over various locations across the United States.  The National Solar Observatory with support from the National Science Foundation is funding the cost of equipment for Southeast students and faculty to use to collect data while in Perryville during the eclipse. Sixty identical telescopes across the path of totality will be used to collect images of the lowest layers of the solar corona during the eclipse. These layers have been challenging for astronomers to previously capture in images. While the totality phase of the eclipse will only last about two minutes at each site, data will be collected from each site and combined in a 90-minute movie to reveal for the first time how this part of the solar atmosphere changes during 90 minutes, Hill said.

For more information on eclipse related events planned at Southeast Missouri State University, visit eclipse.semo.edu.