Solar Eclipse 2017

August 21, 2017

The once-in-a-lifetime Great American Solar Eclipse was visible from the entire continental United States. Most states were treated to a partial eclipse, while a lucky few (and many visitors!) were in the path of totality and observed the moon’s disc completely obscure the sun. The Little Shop of Physics hosted several events related to the eclipse, which took place on the first day of the 2017-2018 school year. The main goal of all of the events was to use this unique opportunity, when much of the country was outside, looking up to the sky, to engage the public, to provide a safe way to experience this remarkable celestial event.

The Little Shop of Physics along with ESMEI provided 30,000 pairs of glasses to the local Poudre School District. Schools across the District had eclipse events, and many of them wrote us to thank us for our part in making this possible.

Kruse Elementary would love to say thank you for making sure our students had the opportunity to experience something so incredible.  Not to mention, it was free.  A whole community of kids didn’t have to spend a cent to experience it.  Your work is appreciated!  We look forward to continuing to working with you this year.
–Ryan Lynch, 5th Grade Teacher, Kruse Elementary

We are so appreciative of CSU’s Little Shop of Physics donation of the viewing glasses! Here is a video we created for parents to let them see how we all shared in this historic event.
–Kathy Mackay, Principal, Poudre High School

Thousands of people gathered on the fields near the center of the Colorado State University campus to share in the experience of an eclipse that, in Fort Collins, peaked at 95% solar coverage, and small groups of people collected across campus to do the same. We shared 7,000 pairs in 40 minutes at the campus viewing event, and we handed out 4,000 pairs of glasses at RamWelcome, an event for incoming CSU freshmen. CSU community members were able to pick up glasses from the Physics Department in the weeks leading up to the eclipse. All told, members of the CSU campus community received nearly 20,000 pairs of certified eclipse glasses from LSOP.

But the main events took place further north. Little Shop of Physics Teacher-In-Residence Sheila Ferguson led a team of College of Natural Sciences community members and a group of incoming freshmen to Mitchell, NE, for a full-day science outreach event with K-12 students. The students worked with dozens of hands-on experiments, assisted by the Science Outreach Scholars, a College of Natural Sciences program coordinated by Allie Keller. Dr. Emily Hardegree-Ullman brought telescopes for people to view the partially eclipsed sun directly. In the middle of the event, all turned their eyes skyward to look at the total solar eclipse. Bats flew from their roost at the school. What will we do for the CSU freshmens’ second day in college to top this?

Tens of thousands of people attended the eclipse event at Carhenge in Alliance, NE; the event was led by Little Shop of Physics Director of Outreach Heather Michalak and Assistant Director Adam Pearlstein, and was staffed by a crew of CSU students. Little Shop was at the heart of this action-packed public spectacle, sharing hands-on science and directing folks to safely view the eclipse.  Even the governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, came by to explore! We’re thrilled to have been a part unique and exciting celestial event.

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