Skip To Content
Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community

Important Information About the Eclipse

August 17, 2017

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

On August 21, 2017, our campus community will have the opportunity to experience an extremely rare event, a total solar eclipse. Because the eclipse will occur while some classes are underway, and while many faculty, staff, and students will be on campus, we thought it prudent to offer some guidance and words of caution. 

The peak time to experience the solar eclipse falls during our regularly scheduled class time. Since the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is always our first priority, we want to caution all who choose to participate to do so with extreme caution. It is never safe to look directly at the sun's rays, even if the sun is partly obscured. When watching a partial eclipse, you must wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun. This also applies during a total eclipse up until the time when the sun is completely blocked, which will happen only within a very narrow geographic path. As put on the NASA Eclipse website: "Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!"

The Physics Department has organized a viewing opportunity in the BDT Suites Amphitheater to view the event, and will have on hand approximately 250 ISO certified viewing glasses and the ability to accommodate that many people. The spatial limitations of the BDT Suites venue make it unable to accommodate all who may be interested in participating, however. 

Faculty teaching classes at the time of the eclipse may opt to, or opt not to, release their students to participate in viewing activities, in their discretion. Any participation engaged in will be strictly at the risk of the individual, not the College.

For more information regarding the solar eclipse and critical safety information, visit the National Weather Service. You will find more information on the NASA Safety information site, as well.  

Happy viewing!

Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.

Sharon L. Davies, J.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs