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Blinn College prepares for Solar Eclipse with special telescopes, filters

Posted at 11:37 AM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 12:37:18-04

BRYAN, Texas — Counting down to history, the Blinn Bryan campus is inviting the community to come out and see the great American viewing event — the Solar Eclipse.

Mixing physics with the stars, one professor and his students are using special tools such as telescopes, and sun spotters to capture it all.

Trey Namanny is Biochemistry major at Blinn — this will be his second time seeing a solar eclipse.

“The first time I had seen one was in 2017," Namanny said.

"To get to see one again within a five-year span is pretty interesting."

He’s looking forward to the patterns of the sun you can see on the sidewalk.

“The way the light shines through the trees, you’re able to see like the crescent shapes in the shadows of leaves,” Namanny said.

Dr. Jim Freeman is an Astronomy and Physics professor at Blinn College.

He says there will be several different telescopes with a variety of filters for the community to view the solar eclipse.

“One of them is just a mirrored filter that filters 99.9% of the light, but the image you see is yellow, like it is for the normal sun,” Dr. Freeman said.

One of those filters is a hydrogen alpha filter.

“It filters all the wavelengths of light except one narrow band of red light that is emitted by hydrogen, and it gives you a significantly different view of the sun,” Dr. Freeman said. 

There will also be sun spotters, devices that project an image of the sun onto a piece of paper.

“A person can come up and take a piece of paper and outline the sun, draw in some spots if you see any, and a picture of where the shadow is and take it home for a souvenir,” Dr. Freeman said.

Dr. Freeman says the moon will touch the sun’s surface around 12:20 p.m. — it’ll reach maximum coverage around 1:39 p.m.

“There’s not going to be another one in Texas until at least 2040, but you can see they happen pretty regularly,” Dr. Freeman said.

“They happen once or twice a year.”

“It’s pretty interesting that er get to be alive at a time where it’s not nighttime and things are going to start getting dimmer and lighter just because of our own planetary alignment so that’s pretty neat,” Namanny said.

Anyone can watch the solar eclipse event on Monday, April 8, starting at noon.

Blinn will provide solar viewing glasses, but viewers are encouraged to bring their own pair.