In the midst of Belmont’s hectic move-in day schedule, students and other community members will have the opportunity to gather on the Lawn to view an historic total solar eclipse on Monday.
The last total solar eclipse that was visible from Nashville was in 1478, so to say that Monday’s eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event isn’t an exaggeration.
“There will be dramatic changes in the sky. The darkening will happen much faster than a sunset, and there will be things going on all around the sky,” said Dean of Belmont’s College of Sciences and Mathematics Dr. Thomas Spence.
Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury will all be visible during the eclipse, nocturnal animals may appear during totality, animals may behave strangely and rare glimpses of the Sun’s corona will be available to those with the proper equipment.
Nashville is also within the path of totality of the eclipse, which means for about two minutes, the moon will completely block the sun and it will be completely dark in the middle of the day. At this point, according to Nasa, the brightness of the sun will be equal to that of a full moon.
“Pay attention and enjoy the experience. I wouldn’t recommend trying to photograph or video the event. Unless you have specialized equipment, your images will not turn out well,” said Spence.
To showcase this unique phenomenon, Belmont will be hosting a viewing party event from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., that will be open to several local high schools, Belmont students, faculty and others in the Belmont community.
During the event, several professors from the College of Sciences and Mathematics will also host talks about the eclipse, which will be emceed by biology professor Dr. Jennifer Thomas.
Belmont will also give away 10 thousand ISO-approved solar eclipse glasses starting at 11:30 a.m., which will protect viewers’ eyes from the Sun’s harmful rays.
“If you want to look directly at the sun, you will need eclipse glasses. Eclipse glasses are simply cardboard frames with Mylar film lenses,” said Spence.
While not incredibly complex technology, the eclipse glasses are completely necessary to view the eclipse safely. During an eclipse, the light from the sun is not bright enough for the brain to recognize that it is dangerous. In other words, you won’t be able to tell, but looking directly at the sun without protection during a total eclipse can permanently damage the eyes.
For a full eclipse safety guide, along with a list of ISO-approved eclipse glasses vendors,click here.
Aug. 21 is also one of the larger move in days for Belmont upperclassmen. In order to take the necessary safety precautions, move in will be paused from 1 to 2 p.m..
“While the conditions shouldn’t be terribly dark, we didn’t want anyone to accidentally be hurt because of the eclipse conditions,” said Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Anthony Donovan.
In spite of the influx of visitors to campus and the surrounding areas as a result of the eclipse, Donovan added that move in should not be any more complicated.
“We have been working closely with our partners to minimize the impact on both our guests and our families moving in. The eclipse event on campus does create things for us to consider, but nothing any bigger than other parts of Welcome Week,” said Donovan.
The eclipse viewing event will also be an important part of Welcome Week, as it will be one of the first campus-wide events Belmont’s incoming freshmen and transfer students will get to experience.
Towering Traditions team leader Sonia Matthews said she’s looking forward to experiencing the event with her TT students.
“It’ll not only be a really special experience because it’s so rare, but also because we get to experience it with our new students. I think it will also be a unique opportunity for the new students to see an authentic example of Belmont and the Belmont community,” said Matthews.
For more information about Belmont’s eclipse event,click here.
This article was written by Bronte Lebo