USC Upstate Plans Solar Eclipse Party

August 18, 2017 at 4:23 pm


Students, faculty and staff are invited to witness the Solar Eclipse and can later tell everyone #IGotMooned at USC Upstate.

The Party of the Century is happening at USC Upstate from 1:30 – 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in front of the Sansbury Campus Life Center.

For about one minute and 42 seconds, the campus, the city, and much of North America will be plunged into an eerie twilight as the moon comes between the Earth and the sun and casts its shadow across the continent.

This party will feature solar-system-themed snacks (think Moon Pies and Astro Pops), a DJ, games – student will receive a “#IGotMooned” T-shirt.

“Our plans are to try to get as many of our students who are going to be on campus in one location, in order to enjoy the sight they will see,” said Rudy Taylor, assistant director, Office of Student Life. “We’re not going to be doing anything extravagant – we’re going to have fun with it, more than anything else.”

Safety is especially important during a partial eclipse, and the University is working with Roper Mountain Science Center to provide free protective eyewear to everyone who joins the viewing party, Taylor said. He explained that, in the path of totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun, it’s OK to observe the phenomenon without protective eyewear; however, since Spartanburg is just a few miles outside of the path of totality, there will be no time on campus at which it will be safe to eschew protective eyewear.

“The sun’s power even at one-tenth of a percent is amazing,” Taylor said.

This eclipse is remarkable for the lengthy, 70-mile-wide path the moon’s shadow will cut across North America; experts say it could be the most-observed total eclipse in history. The path of totality stretches from Oregon to Charleston, S.C. In Spartanburg, the eclipse will be about 99.9 percent complete, according to experts.

Laura Puckett-Boler, vice chancellor of student affairs and dean of students, said many of the new and returning students will be in orientation on Aug. 21, but that the schedule is being amended for the heavenly event.

“The ‘golden time’ is around 2 to 2:40 [p.m.], so we want the students to be outside doing stuff with us,” Puckett-Boler said.

Taylor cautioned those who plan to photograph the partial eclipse or to view it with a telescope or binoculars to take the necessary precautions to protect their gear and especially their eyes, Taylor said.

“The biggest deal is that all magnifying devices without solar filters are dangerous,” Taylor said. “And you never want to point an optical device at the sun without the proper solar filter. The sun can cause immediate and permanent damage.”

The federal government has even created a new safety standard for solar-viewing lenses: any protective eyewear should meet the new ISO 12312-2 designation. Inexpensive solar filters for a wide range of optical equipment, from telescopes to digital SLR cameras, are available online and from local retailers; but check before you purchase to ensure that your purchase is ISO 12312-2 certified.

Taylor said the Office of Student Life is expecting as many as 700 people to show up for the viewing party.

“We’re just lucky in the end to have the eclipse so close,” he said. “Some people will travel around the world to see this event, and it’s coming to us.”