Students at SCF and Collegiate School to Study the Eclipse

(Bradenton, Fla., Aug. 15, 2017) — The first day of classes at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) on Aug. 21 will fall during a solar eclipse and instructors across the campus are taking advantage of the lessons it will teach. Teachers from SCF Collegiate School plan to have students outside with solar glasses for viewing the sun during the eclipse. Various groups of Collegiate School students will be outside Monday afternoon from 12:15 to 3:15 p.m. The school also will be linked to live feeds from NASA during the event.

A total eclipse will be viewable throughout a 70-mile-wide path that crosses 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina. Carbondale, Ill., will experience the longest eclipse duration, clocking in at two minutes, 43 seconds, and Hopkinsville, Ky., will see the sun, the moon and Earth line up the most precisely, according to NASA. Charleston, S.C., will be the last place in the continental United States to see the total solar eclipse, ending at 2:48 p.m.

Jennifer Holt, an SCFCS instructor, will be talking to students about the eclipse and the parts of the sun that they will see through the solar viewing glasses as they visit SCF’s quad throughout the event. The 8th grade science class Holt teaches will study the sun and eclipses in the spring, using some of the lessons the will learn during the live eclipse.

Allen Fenderson, an astronomy instructor at SCF will encourage his students to view the eclipse for their semester’s astronomy paper and presentation. Fenderson, who has been fascinated with astronomy since he was a child, said Florida will experience an 82 percent eclipse. Anyone who views the eclipse in Florida will have to use special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or solar telescopes, to view the sun through the entirety of the eclipse, he said. Those who are in places where the sun is completely covered, will be able to view the eclipse without special equipment for a brief period when the sun is entirely blocked by the moon, which will not happen in this area. But Fenderson said there is still plenty to see here.

“As the moon’s disc first makes contact with the sun, you might be able to see the moon’s actual mountains,” he said. “You might be able to see Venus and Jupiter as well during the time of maximum darkness.”

Expect to see nature react to the solar eclipse, he said. Birds will get quiet or head back to their nests and the atmosphere will suddenly cool. Fenderson who also teaches physics, said Albert Einstein used a total eclipse to prove his general theory of relativity by showing the bend of light from stars behind the sun during a total eclipse. It took a team of scientists about 15 years to get just the right conditions during a total solar eclipse, he said.

For more information, contact Fenderson at or 941-752-5341.

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