On Monday August 21st, HBCUs across the country will hold watch parties to celebrate the total eclipse. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the earth and the sun, and the moon casts a shadow that leaves a small section of the earth in total darkness until it continues along its orbit. The people that live, work, or travel within the direct path of that shadow experience a total eclipse, while others who live on the periphery experience a partial eclipse.
This year, the total solar eclipse will be visible in many communities across the United States, including South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC. Students, faculty, and staff will be able to watch a total solar eclipse on campus for the first time since 1970.
The watch party will be held at the Oliver C. Dawson Stadium from 11 a.m until 4 p.m., giving viewers plenty of time to relax and enjoy the festivities before the actual eclipse. There will be performances from the Marching 101, Sapphire Pom Squad, SC State Cheerleaders, and DJ Lord Jazz as well as opportunities for viewers to use telescopes and pinhole projectors. Multiple vendors will be present, including Randolph Lovely Italian Ice, Chick-fil-A, and Delight N’ Me Sweet Treats.
The partial solar eclipse will begin at 1:14 p.m. and the total solar eclipse will occur between 2:43-2:45 p.m. that afternoon. Other South Carolina HBCUs, including Claflin University and Benedict College, will also be able to view the solar eclipse.
At Tennessee State University, organizers expect that as many as 10,000 people will show up for their “Blue and White Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Day Party”. The university will host multiple events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m to entertain spectators, including speeches from NASA engineer Dr. Virginia Tickles and TSU President Glenda Glover. Students, faculty, and staff will be able to view the total eclipse at 1:29 pm.
Spectators should never look directly at the sun during a partial solar eclipse. NASA and other scientific organizations recommend that spectators wear solar viewing glasses to safely watch the eclipse during the viewing period.