Southeast Physics Professor, Student Presenting at Bollinger County Museum’s ‘Solar Eclipse Day’

Dr. Peggy Hill, professor of physics, and Taylor Shivelbine, senior physics education major at Southeast Missouri State University, will give an upcoming community talk at the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History in Marble Hill, Missouri, to prepare residents for the total solar eclipse occurring on Aug. 21.

The presentation, titled “Eclipse 101: Preparing for Darkness at Noon,” is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 5 as part of the museum’s “Solar Eclipse Day” event. The museum will be open from noon-4 p.m. and regular admission costs apply.

The presentation will focus on the science of the upcoming solar eclipse. Hill and Shivelbine 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.

This is an opportunity for southeast Missouri residents living outside the “path of totality” to learn about the eclipse and how to prepare for their visits to locations within the path, Hill said.

“The solar eclipse is such a rare and special event,” Hill said. “This is one of the few experiences that everyone can share and we want to help students, parents and Missouri residents take advantage of that opportunity in a meaningful and safe way.”

Hill will also discuss the Citizen CATE experiment site in Perryville, Missouri where she is leading a team of six students, including Shivelbine, to conduct research on Aug. 21. Citizen CATE is a nationwide endeavor by citizen astronomers at 70 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. 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.

Following the presentation, the museum will host special solar activities, including solar art, building pinhole viewers and UV bead bracelets.

“We hope to inspire participants of all ages to join in the excitement and fun around this once in a lifetime celestial event,” Hill said.

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