* Please Note: As of Monday, Aug. 14, the UNO Physics Department no longer has solar eclipse glasses for sale *
When students return to campus for the first day of classes this fall the universe will show its Maverick spirit with an once-in-a-lifetime “blackout” as the first total eclipse of the sun in more than 60 years passes over North America.
From approximately 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, the earth will pass through the Moon’s shadow and, depending on where you live, result in various eclipse results.
That day, Omaha will experience 98 percent of totality. This means that while the sun will not entirely be covered, it will still significantly hide the sun’s rays and create a late-evening experience, approximately at 1 p.m., as the Moon casts its maximum shadow and then exists the sun’s path.
During the day, there will be several special viewing options available on the UNO campus:
- The Pep Bowl will be a key outside viewing site on campus. UNO Student Involvement will be handing out solar eclipse glasses during Durango Days events in the Pep Bowl.
- The Department of Physics and College of Education will have telescopes outside of the Durham Science Center and Roskens Hall. Roskens Hall will also have displays of NASA educational materials, solar viewer construction materials, and NASA video feeds.
- The Department of Physics will have projector screens and home-made colander viewing devices students can use.
- UNO's Mallory Kountze Planetarium will be open for a live stream of the eclipse.
- The UNO Criss Library will provide a live stream of the eclipse on their large TV monitor.
Krista Testin, who manages the UNO planetarium, says there should be more than enough opportunities throughout the process for anyone interested in seeing the celestial phenomenon.
“It is incredibly important that anyone who wants to see the eclipse do so using proper safety precaustions,” she says. “Just because most the sun will be covered doesn’t mean it’s safe to look directly at it.”
Lecturer Dave Kriegler says that the event is so unusual that people began making travel plans more than a year ago to typically non-tourist destinations like Grand Island; Saint Joseph, Missouri; Casper, Wyoming; and Atchison, Kansas.
“There is really nothing that can compare to a total solar eclipse,” Lecturer David Kriegler says. “Depending on where you are at in the eclipse’s path, it will be dark enough to see some bright stars in the middle of the day, temperatures will drop and, in general, it will just be a very odd sensation for humans and animals alike.”
General Solar Eclipse Photo Tips
- Use A Proper Filter: NEVER look at the sun with the naked eye, or through a telescope, binoculars or camera viewfinder without a safe solar filter. Proper filters can be purchased inexpensively from a variety of camera or telescope companies.
- Camera Focal Length: To get the best image of the eclipse through your filtered camera, use a telescope or telephoto lens of at least 400 millimeters. This helps get detailed, close-up images.
- Use a High ISO Setting: The camera ISO should be set to 400 or higher to keep exposure times very short and avoids blurring.
- Pre-Focus Your Camera: If possible, use a bright star in the night sky to test your focus level and then use tape to keep the focus ring from moving.
- Take Test Shots: Use your filter to take test shots of the sun prior to the eclipse in order to avoid problems such as focusing, vibrations or reflections.
High Altitude Live Stream
In addition to the work on campus during the eclipse, the UNO-based Nebraska Space Grant is assisting the Nebraska High Altitude Ballooning Program and NASA scientists, who will be helping to live-streaming the eclipse from a height of up to 100,000 feet.
The teams will head to Grand Island, which is in the path of totality for the eclipse.
Local students will also work with the Nebraska Space Grant to launch balloons with experimental payloads and data collection equipment during the eclipse.
For more information on the eclipse taking place this August, visit the NASA website.
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