MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- There are lots of organizations and venues in Middle Tennessee hosting watch parties for the August 21 solar eclipse, but only a handful have been designated by NASA as “official” watch sites.
To qualify, sites must have a security plan in place and a designated expert on hand to provide accurate eclipse information. At Middle Tennessee State University that person is Astronomy Department Chair Ron Henderson.
“There’ll be multiple locations where visitors can go and look through a telescope that has the proper protections on it.”
Dr. Henderson notes that the eclipse will last for about three hours, but the sun will only be fully covered by the moon for a few seconds at about 1:30 p.m.
The viewing area at MTSU will be located in front of the science building and will open at 11 a.m.
Dr. Henderson is encouraging everyone to make eclipse viewing plans. He notes that an opportunity like this doesn’t come around all that often.
“The last total solar eclipse in Murfreesboro was in the 1400s, and the next total solar eclipse in Murfreesboro will be in about 500 years from now.”
If you can’t make it to MTSU there are six other official NASA viewing sites in Middle Tennessee. They include the Adventure Science Center and the Capitol Mall Park in Nashville, The Wilson County Library in Mt. Juliet, Tucker Stadium at Tennessee Tech, Bledsoe Creek Park in Gallatin and the Dunn Center at Austin Peay State in Clarksville.