NASA partner and Eclipse Ambassador Meleah Lanier gives a presentation on the April 8 total solar eclipse. Photo by Ralph Acosta | THE ALL STATE.

In case you have not heard the news yet, mark your calendars because next Monday April 8 is the 2024 total solar eclipse. Though Clarksville will not reach 100% totality, we will still experience a partial solar eclipse— reaching 96.8% totality.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a total solar eclipse, it occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, completely blocking the sun for a short period of time and depending on where you are in the path of totality depends on your view of the eclipse.

Monday evening, Austin Peay State University’s College of STEM hosted a special event at the Sundquist Science Complex to educate the community about the upcoming solar eclipse, what to expect and how to prepare.

The event featured NASA partner Eclipse Ambassador Meleah Lanier, who not only presented the attendees with this important information but also gave visual demonstrations of an eclipse and sunspotter usage—an indirect viewing method of an eclipse.

Meleah Lanier uses a colander to demonstrate what a total solar eclipse looks like when using a sunspotter for indirect viewing. Photo by Ralph Acosta | THE ALL STATE.

A common theme emphasized throughout her presentation was the concept of safety. 

During an eclipse, it is incredibly important to practice safe viewing techniques which most commonly include the usage of solar glasses and viewers. Indirect viewing methods can include pinhole projectors, sun funnels, sunspotters and more. 

She highlighted the importance of only removing your solar glasses when in totality so as not to damage your eyes. She also mentioned buying lenses or filters for your phone and/or camera if you plan to take pictures during the eclipse to protect your personal equipment from damage as well.

If you are willing to take a day trip to better your experience, Paducah is one of the closest cities in the path of totality and is less than a two-hour drive from Clarksville. 

If you are not looking to travel, you can still view it from outside your home, dorm or if you would like a more interactive opportunity, join other students and faculty in the quad to share the experience.

The next total solar eclipse is not predicted to occur until the year 2045, so make sure you take a moment on April 8 to experience this exciting, rare event.