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UPIKE to offer activities during total solar eclipse

August 11, 2017 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
On August 21, 2017 people in Pikeville and the surrounding area will have a unique chance to view a total solar eclipse, a celestial event during which the moon completely covers the sun’s disk. The University of Pikeville is seizing the opportunity to involve the campus community and local citizens in this rare event.

From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on August 21, UPIKE and Kentucky College of Optometry faculty will be hosting a series of brief presentations regarding the science behind a total solar eclipse, eye protection and other pertinent topics. The presentations will be held on the seventh floor of the Health Professions Education Building.

A telescope with a solar filter will available in Benefactors Plaza from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., along with solar viewing glasses, to view the phenomenon. In the region, the eclipse will come into view around 1 p.m., with 2:35 p.m. being the peak time. Educational information and refreshments will also be available on the plaza.

UPIKE Professor of Education and Physics Robert Arts, Ph.D., and KYCO Associate Professor of Optics George Asimellis, Ph.D., have been instrumental in engaging the community in the total solar eclipse as well as providing valuable education.

“A total solar eclipse that crosses over the entire continental United States is very special,” said Arts. “In Eastern Kentucky, we’re going to experience 94 percent of the total solar eclipse, which will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for most people. UPIKE has a long tradition of providing community outreach when it comes to the sciences. This event gives us a chance to share our expertise and to open the UPIKE campus to the community.”

Asimellis offers tips on practicing eye safety during the event.

“Staring at the sun anytime, not just during an eclipse, is extremely hazardous,” said Asimellis. “The excitement regarding a total solar eclipse will drive almost everybody to look at the sun during this unique time. However, even a small portion of direct sunlight can cause damage to the retina. Only specially approved solar viewing glasses are recommended while watching the eclipse. Look for ISO [International Organization for Standardization] certification on these types of glasses to ensure proper quality.”

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