The first day of fall classes at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska will be memorable in more ways than one this year. On that same day, Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible across portions of the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina, and Northeast is planning to celebrate as well as use it as a learning opportunities in several classes.
Carissa Kollath, director of student activities, said the College has arranged lawn games, music and a viewing party for its students.
“We want to provide a location for students to get together and view this rare phenomenon. I’m hoping students will take advantage of this viewing location to not only witness this awesome event happening in our own backyard but also to mingle and meet other students.”
Kim Timperley, chemistry/physics instructor, said students will also be outside the Science Building observing the eclipse using various methods, including eclipse glasses and images projected through colanders as well as telescopes with solar filters.
“During the eclipse, you will notice a drop in air temperature and the air will become still,” Timperley said. “The color of the sky will become a deeper blue. If the sky turns a deep enough blue, you may be able to see Venus at 34 degrees west of the sun. That’s about three and a half fist widths held at arm’s length.”
Timperley said that during maximum obscuration, the landscape may appear silver-like with sharp shadows and that the behavior of birds and other animals could change.
Northeast has sought to ensure individuals across the area have the opportunity to witness this historic event. The College distributed eclipse glasses, free of charge, to 68 schools in its 20-county service area and to 135 additional schools in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota, as well as other locations. The glasses have been certified as safe for viewing by the British Standards Institute.
“All in all, 21,000 eclipse glasses are involved,” said Timperley.
All of the glasses were distributed as of Wednesday afternoon.
Timperley said that the eclipse will be 97.577 percent of totality in Norfolk. He said the moon will begin to move across the sun at approximately 11:36 a.m. and clear it at approximately 2:26 p.m. Maximum obscuration, which will last around one minute, will occur in Norfolk around 1:01 p.m.
– Press release from Northeast Community College