Science Exploration series to explore annular solar eclipse

Author: Jessica Sieff

Bj 8

Before the Fighting Irish take on the University of Southern California Trojans this Saturday, Oct. 14, friends and fans coming to campus to take part in pre-game activities may want to turn their (protected) eyes to the sky.

Weather permitting, Notre Dame and South Bend area residents will see a partial annular solar eclipse beginning at 11:39 a.m. when the edge of the moon will just start to cover the edge of the sun. Maximum coverage is expected around 1 p.m.

The eclipse’s path will cross North, Central and South America — with close to 90 percent coverage of the sun in the southwest United States and 40 percent coverage visible from campus at maximum.

Dubbed a “Ring of Fire” eclipse for the way the edges of the sun appear to blaze from behind the moon, annular eclipses take place when the moon, while at or near its farthest point from Earth, passes between Earth and the sun.

As part of its Science Exploration series, the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science will host a watch party on the north side of the Jordan Hall of Science, providing access to telescopes and eclipse glasses for safe viewing.

“If the photosphere of the sun is at all visible, you should be wearing eclipse glasses — which are different from sunglasses,” said Keith Davis, director of Notre Dame’s Digital Visualization Theater. “Seeing an eclipse — even a partial eclipse — is an amazing experience, but it’s never safe to look directly at the sun without solar filter glasses. Cameras, telescopes and binoculars should also be fitted with solar filters to avoid damage to the eye.”

In the event of inclement weather, watch party attendees will be able to see a simulation and explanation of how eclipses happen from inside Notre Dame’s Digital Visualization Theater and planetarium. Presentations will take place on a 20-minute rolling schedule, during which visitors will explore our solar system and watch as the moon moves into position to block the sun.

Notre Dame faculty, graduate and undergraduate students will be on hand to answer questions.

The next annular solar eclipse will not take place until June 21, 2039, for which Alaska will be the only state in the path of that eclipse, according to NASA.

A total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Indiana on April 8, 2024, with 97 percent coverage of the sun visible from campus.

Contact: Jessica Sieff, associate director, media relations, 574-631-3933,

Originally published by Jessica Sieff at on October 12, 2023.