Limestone's Dr. Shelly Meyers To Assist State Museum With Solar Eclipse Event

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Monday, July 24, 2017 - 10:45am

A NASA connection will place Limestone College professor Dr. Shelly Meyers at one of the best places to watch a total solar eclipse.

Meyers, Director of Teacher Education and the Chair of the Division of Education and Physical Education, will be a volunteer with the South Carolina State Museum on Sunday, Aug. 20, when it hosts its solar eclipse celebration weekend. She will help with museum exhibitions and shows leading up to viewing the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, at 2:41 p.m.

This cosmic event occurs when the sun, moon, and earth line up so perfectly that the moon blocks the sun, creating rare and spectacular effects across the sky. There will be darkness in the middle of the day and a rare corona effect around the sun, which is visible only during a 100 percent total solar eclipse.

This is the first transcontinental total solar eclipse to cross the United States in 99 years. South Carolina is one of 10 states through which the center line of totality passes.

NASA estimates South Carolina could see one million visitors come to the state to watch the eclipse. The museum will have a reserved common area with special glasses to protect the eyes for safe eclipse viewing.

“The greater Columbia area will experience the longest total eclipse on the East Coast, with two minutes and 36 seconds of darkness in the middle of the afternoon,” Meyers said. “Cherokee County residents will not be able to see the total solar eclipse since it sits outside the main path. They may see shadows, but they will be very vague.”

Meyers became interested in helping with the South Carolina State Museum eclipse event in May when she attended the NASA Educator Institute at the Langley Research Institute in Hampton, Va.

Texas State University has a 3- year, $3 million cooperative agreement with NASA to present the annual institutes. Meyers took six Limestone College education students as a part of a grant taht covered most of the expenses.

NASA has assisted the South Carolina State Museum with its solar eclipse event with special astronomy and space exhibits and provided access to a NASA Langley Centennial Experience Trailer.

South Carolina native and Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke will make a special appearance at the museum for the Aug. 21 eclipse-viewing day. There will be eclipse education pop-up stations and tours.

“We learned about the state museum’s eclipse event when we attended the NASA Educator Institute. They were looking for volunteers,” Meyers said. “When NASA asks, you say yes. It’s a really good feeling to be able to help out with this once-in-a-lifetime event. This will be a great learning experience I will be able to share with my students.”

(Article by Scott Powell, The Gaffney Ledger.)