Vol State announces educational eclipse watching event

(Courtesy: Vol State Community College)

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – Vol State Community College is hosting an educational eclipse watching event for this year’s once-in-a-lifetime celestial event.

School officials say their events for the August 21 total solar eclipse is family-friendly for both kids and parents.

Gallatin will be one of the best spots in the country to view the total eclipse, with totality lasting 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

MORE: Tennessee will see something it hasn’t in over 500 years: A total solar eclipse

During Vol State’s eclipse event, there will be educational presentations about the eclipse and how viewing the sun can cause eye damage if you’re not safe. There will also be discussions with amateur astronomers travelling to Vol State from the across the country for the eclipse.

Science activities for kids will include a scale model of the solar system; construction of pinhole cameras to view the eclipse; making a sun dial; and constructing a solar hot dog cooker for a contest.

There will even be astronomically-themed face painting. A science instructor from Mississippi will be doing fun eclipse presentations for younger kids that will include music and demonstrations. There will be a live narration during the totality and free viewing glasses for attendees.

The activities will be held both outside on the Thigpen Library lawn and in air-conditioned buildings.

The Vol State event is being held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eclipse viewing in the area will be from noon to 3 p.m. The Vol State campus will close to the public at 6 p.m.

The eclipse’s totality will occur at 1:27 p.m. Viewing will be dependent on the weather.

Attendees are encouraged to pack for a picnic, as seating will be on the lawn. Food and drinks will be available for sale at the event.

Attendance will be capped at 3,500. Everyone from everywhere is invited, but advance registration is required. Click here to register.

If you have any questions, you can email pr@volstate.edu or call 615-230-3570.

Click here for more on the Total Solar Eclipse 2017.

Parking and entry
Campus officially opens at 8 a.m. Parking will be limited. We encourage carpools.

Caudill Hall Wemyss Auditorium
9:30 a.m. Auditorium Welcome by Vol State President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner, and eclipse viewing suggestions and warnings
10:15 a.m. “Image and Understanding: Overcoming Error through Observation and Reason” by Dr. Jeremy Shipley, Vol State Philosophy
11:30 a.m. “Eclipses in History and Culture” by Dr. Joe Douglas, Vol State History
12:30 p.m.-1 p.m. Eclipse video feeds from other parts of country

Pickel Field House Gym
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Athletic Department Concessions open for breakfast and lunch
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Kid and parent activities by Vol State faculty and staff volunteers
“Solar System Scale Model” -a gym sized model to explore
“Construct a Pinhole Camera” -use it to watch the eclipse
“Make a sun dial and see it in action” -take it outside to track the sun
“Astronomical and Earth Science Face Painting”
10 a.m., 11 a.m. and Noon Kid and family presentation and songs about eclipse phases and viewing an eclipse- Bob Swanson, Instructor of Physical Sciences / Geography, Itawamba Community College- Tupelo, MS

Thigpen Library Lawn
9 a.m. Day kick-off with light, fun, family Yoga and discussion of how astronomical events are used in Yoga- by Joanna Blauw, Vol State Health and Fitness
10:30 a.m. Lawn Welcome by Vol State President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner, and eclipse viewing suggestions and warnings
11 a.m. “Build a Solar Cooker Contest” -kids build sun powered cookers out of material we provide. It’s a race to cook hot dogs the quickest! Parents please attend with your child to participate.
11:15 a.m. What does it take to get good pictures of an eclipse? We talk to a Montgomery County Community College assistant professor of Physics, visiting from Pennsylvania. Kelli Corrado Spangler explains the Coronado Solar telescope.
11:30 a.m. Why travel for a total eclipse? A conversation with Starr Livingstone, amateur astronomer from Ontario, Canada and member of the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada.
11:45 a.m. “How the eclipse may or may not affect natural background radiation” by the Vol State Radiologic Technology Program
Noon Direct solar viewing can cause serious eye damage. There are some surprising people in history who damaged their eyes by looking directly at the Sun. We chat with Alisha Cornish, Director of the Vol State Ophthalmic Technology Program
12:30 p.m. Solar Cooker Contest winners announced
1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Eclipse Narration before and after totality, Bob Swanson, Itawamba Community College- Tupelo, MS

Wood Campus Center – Nichols Dining Rooms
7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Vol State Café open for breakfast and lunch
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Eclipse themed art work on display in the Nichols Dining Room
11 a.m. Eclipse and astronomy themed poetry, story-telling and music