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April’s Total Solar Eclipse: Important Information and Events for Students

April Solar Eclipse Preview | Graphic by Abigail Abbott | The Wright State Guardian

A period of darkness lasting approximately 2 minutes and 43 seconds will impact students on Monday, April 8, 2024. This rare sight is one Wright State University students do not want to miss, as Dayton is lucky enough to be in the path of totality. WSU is making sure students will be able to witness the historic event and stay informed thanks to resources provided on campus.

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is a period of time when the moon passes between the earth and sun, completely blocking the sun and casting darkness on certain locations.

What makes this event so special is how rare a total solar eclipse is. Selected locations happen to witness this particular eclipse every two to three years, but a total solar eclipse only happens in any given location once every 375 years. 

The last time a solar eclipse took place in the United States was Aug. 2017. Many Americans are traveling to locations along the path of totality for the most optimum view possible.

According to an article from the National Aeronautics Space Administration, another total solar eclipse will not be visible in the U.S. until 2044. The article also provides information on what to do during the eclipse. 

“Once the diamond ring disappears and there is no longer any direct sunlight, you may remove your eclipse glasses and look at the total eclipse safely with the naked eye,” the article reads. 

The Dayton area will experience a period of totality, or total darkness, at approximately 3:13 p.m.

How this will impact students

Classes will remain in session on eclipse day, but many worry about the commuter students. The darkness cast on Dayton may make driving difficult and a safety problem to those on the road during the period of totality.

University Provost Amy Thompson made an announcement on Jan. 30 regarding the solar eclipse and how this may impact Wright State students.

“I ask that you plan your Spring 2024 course schedules accordingly to ensure students will not be penalized for missing class that day during impacted class time blocks. I suggest you not give any in-class exams or high-stakes assignments during that time,” Thompson wrote.

Most professors and campus officials are highlighting the importance of preparation, especially for those commuting. Students need to make sure to be aware of the eclipse and when to expect darkness.

Student resources & events

In the spirit of such a historic event, several functions are happening in and around Wright State for students and the community. Resources and proper eclipse knowledge will also be provided to students to ensure a safe viewing.

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is in the eclipse spirit with several labs leading up to April 8. Guests can make eclipse-viewing glasses through the museum’s “Do Lab Daily Program.” Boonshoft also is holding “Sky Tonight,” where guests can watch a planetarium show full of solar eclipse information.

Ayşe Şahin, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, and Eric Corbitt, interim dean of students, are putting together “Totality,” an eclipse-day event. 

The event is still being finalized, but students can expect optimum viewing along with many eclipse-related activities.

Students might expect to see lawn games, food trucks and live music. Students will be provided with eclipse glasses from the university to guarantee a damage-free viewing. 

Şahin and Corbitt speak on the importance of such a momentous occurrence for students and the community.

“I think it’s a real treat to be in the path of totality. I have not seen a total eclipse, and everyone I speak to assures me that as soon as I have experienced it, I will become one of these people who travels. It’s one of these phenomenons that we live, and it changes how we experience our surroundings for a brief period of time. It’s definitely worth not missing,” Şahin said.

Corbitt highlighted the historical significance of the total solar eclipse. 

“This may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The next one in Dayton is well past our lifespan,” Corbitt adds.

A website containing more information on “Totality” and everything students need to know about the event is said to be launching in the next few days. Flyers and posters containing eclipse event information will be provided on bulletin boards around campus as well.

For more information about the solar eclipse of 2024, visit the NASA Science webpage

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