2024 Solar Eclipse Event Draws Large Crowd on FAU’s Boca Raton Campus

Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024
2024 Solar Eclipse Event Draws Large Crowd on FAU’s Boca Raton Campus

Well over 1,000 people gathered to watch a rare partial solar eclipse on Florida Atlantic’s Boca Raton campus on April 8, hosted by the Schmidt College of Science’s Department of Physics and FAU Observatory. College faculty, staff, and students handed our special eclipse glasses and had several telescopes set up for viewers to watch as the Moon passed between the Sun and Earth throughout the afternoon.

“So many people expressed their appreciation for the chance to see the eclipse,” shared Eric Vandernoot, astronomy and physics lab coordinator and manager, FAU Astronomical Observatory. “These events are about coming together to share in the joy of a unique experience of our natural world, as well as to get guests to engage in some science, too!

Since Palm Beach County fell more than 1,000 miles from the eastern edge of the solar eclipse’s path of totality, residents only witnessed about a 50 percent coverage of the Sun. However, the eclipse did offer guests and scientists alike a rare opportunity to view the Sun’s colorful lower atmosphere, the chromosphere, and the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona. These areas can’t normally be seen because the Sun’s surface is so much brighter.

The Sun is currently approaching solar maximum – its highest rate of activity during its approximate 11-year solar cycle – and its magnetic field is getting all twisted up, making more sunspots, prominences, flares, and some coronal mass ejections (CMEs). There was a good chance that people would be able to see not just the corona, but also the Sun’s chromosphere during the viewing event.

“There were some prominences that showed up,” Vandernoot revealed. “The one I focused my scope on, I estimated to be about 12 Earth diameters tall.

There will not be another eclipse in the United States for 21 years. So, save the date for the next total solar eclipse on August 12, 2045. Its path will cross the state of Florida, and Palm Beach County will be in the path of totality for it.

The FAU Observatory regularly hosts free public viewing events. For a schedule of upcoming events and directions to the Observatory, click here.

Tags: science

Additional Information
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Science offers unparalleled experiential learning opportunities to prepare the next generation of scientists and problem solvers.
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Rd, SE-43
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Fax: (561) 297-3292