Total Solar Eclipse to Kick off Fall 2017 Semester at Southeast


Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate the Great American Solar Eclipse – an event promising the sight of a lifetime on Aug. 21 – with a full slate of SEclipse 2017 activities for Southeast students, faculty and staff, alumni, local school children and the regional community.

“Southeast Missouri State University is so fortunate to have this marvelous scientific event happening right before our very eyes on Aug. 21,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “This is a wonderful educational opportunity for our students as well as our region. We have a significant lineup of events throughout the day, and as a physicist myself, I could not be any more pleased to be able to host Dr. Michio Kaku that evening and close out our eclipse events at Southeast. I would like to extend a warm invitation to both the campus and regional communities to join us in viewing and celebrating the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 at Southeast.”

On Aug. 21, the United States will see a total solar eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina. Cape Girardeau is in this path and will experience totality (darkness as the moon passes in front of the sun) for one minute and 45 seconds starting at 1:20:21 PM (CDT).

Special events are planned throughout the day, which also is the first day of the fall 2017 semester at Southeast. Festivities will include a space and science themed carnival; two high-altitude balloon launches; an art and music festival at Southeast’s River Campus; viewing opportunities, live eclipse broadcasts, and eclipse entertainment and activities from Houck Field; and a keynote address by worldwide science icon Dr. Michio Kaku. Visit for a complete schedule of events.

University officials stress the importance of proper eye protection during viewing of the eclipse. Special glasses will be made available to the Southeast community and visitors on Aug. 21 so they may view the eclipse safely. Visit eclipse/ for more information on viewing the eclipse safely to prevent eye damage.

High-Altitude Weather Balloon Launches

Prior to the eclipse, Southeast students, faculty and staff, alumni, regional community members and more than 1,600 area school  children will witness two high-altitude weather balloon launches at 11 a.m. at Houck Field. Doors open at 11:15 a.m. Southeast alumna Kaci Heins, education supervisor with the Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center for the NASA Johnson Space Center and teacher liaison for The Space Foundation, will help lead a group of local area and University educators in building two scientific payloads, and preparing and releasing the balloons. The balloons will be tracked via GPS and their paths will be monitored via the Houck Field video board.

Normal Avenue Activities for the Southeast Community

A Space Carnival, open to Southeast students, is slated for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Normal Avenue between Academic Hall and Kent Library. The carnival will feature craft and game booths, Moon Pie eating contests, inflatables, a photo booth and DJ. Southeast Student Activities Council and Student Government will host multiple inflatables and booths with space-themed games, including a “Saturn’s Ring” toss, “Shuttle Launch” paper airplane targets, “Shooting Stars” balloon darts, “Splashdown” mini parachute target landing and many more. Southeast students may use their meal plans to purchase lunch at all campus dining facilities.

Southeast classes are canceled from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 21 so students can take in the eclipse phenomenon.

River Campus Activities

From 10 a.m. to 1:22 p.m., the Southeast community along with local visitors are invited to the River Campus SEclipse Festival with live music, dance, theatrical performances, visual arts displays and museum exhibitions, and other hands-on activities throughout the River Campus. The Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum will open at 10 a.m. with special space-themed exhibits and activities. At 11:30 a.m., student and visitors can create their own custom wearable masterpiece at an art T-shirt printing booth. Immediately following, performances by the Southeast Marching Band, Faculty Brass Quintet, dance and choir ensembles, solo vocalists and acting monologues will delight audiences until 1 p.m. After the solar eclipse totality, the River Campus events will conclude with a Marching Band finale.

Houck Stadium Activities

Southeast students, faculty and staff, alumni, regional community members and area school children are invited to solar eclipse-related entertainment and activities, including a KFVS12 livestream, beginning at 11:15 a.m. at Houck Field. At 12:50 p.m., Vargas will welcome the Southeast community, local community members and students to Houck Field to witness the solar eclipse totality. Totality is expected to begin at 1:20:21 PM (CDT) and last for one minute and 45 seconds.

Southeast Regional Campuses

 Southeast’s regional campuses in Sikeston and Kennett, Missouri, will celebrate the total solar eclipse as well. A video stream from the Cape Girardeau campus will be available, and hot dogs and soft drinks will be served.

Dr. Michio Kaku Presentation

Dr. Michio Kaku

Southeast’s SEclipse activities will conclude with a keynote address by Dr. Michio Kaku, one of the most widely recognized figures in science in the world today, with “The Next 20 Years: How Science Will Revolutionize Business, the Economy, Medicine, and Our Way of Life,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center.

During his evening presentation, Kaku is expected to reflect on the day’s events and offer insights into this phenomenon. Kaku is an internationally recognized authority in two areas. The first is Einstein’s unified field theory, which he is attempting to complete. The other is to predict trends affecting business, commerce and finance based on the latest research in science. He has written three New York Times Bestsellers. His latest, “The Future of the Mind,” hit number one on the New York Times, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble Bestsellers Lists, making it the number one hardcover, non-fiction book in the country.

This event is open to the public. All tickets are free to students, faculty, staff and the community until 5 p.m. Aug. 18. Free tickets may be picked up no later than 5 p.m. Aug. 18 at the University Center, Room 204 and at the Show Me Center Box Office. Complimentary tickets also may be reserved and printed online at prior to the Aug. 18 deadline. Tickets will be $10 for the community after 5 p.m. Aug. 18 through Aug. 21. During that period, tickets will remain free for Southeast students, faculty, and staff who show a Redhawks ID. A ticket will be required for entry.