10 Students traveled to Arkansas for eclipse

March 27, 2024 |

Ten students in the AST495/595 course "Stare at the Sun" successfully completed a tour of the Midwest in a hunt to view the once-in-a-generation total solar eclipse.  

Though a last minute change from West to East Arkansas was needed to ensure no clouds would obscure the eclipse, students were able to view the Sun directly for more than two minutes of totality outside of Jonesboro Arkansas.   Faculty sponsors in the department brought telescopes and sunspotters, which the students and gathered public were able to use to view the corona, Bailey's beads, and fantastic solar prominences that occurred in this period of high solar activity. 

Pictured below is a photo taken in totality by Law Enforcement major Justin Fuchs. 

In addition to the eclipse, students were able to explore indigenous mound-building sites in the region at Cahokia Mounds and Plum Bayou, to learn about traditional timekeeping methods using the motion of the sky.  Also, in Memphis TN and Davenport IA, students were able to visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and the Figge Art museum which house one of the richest collections of art in the upper Midwest.   The course itinerary is provided below.