Master Class | Dr. Gregory Guisbiers


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Dr.  Gregory Guisbiers | UA Little Rock Associate Professor Donaghey College of Sciences, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

The North American Eclipse guarantees a celestial adventure in the heart of Arkansas. This opportunity of a lifetime – to experience the path of totality – stretches across the Natural State and offers an unprecedented daytime darkness from one to nearly four minutes. UA Little Rock Associate Professor Donaghey College of Sciences, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Dr.  Gregory Guisbiers shares insight.


There are two types of eclipses: lunar and solar. A lunar eclipse is the Earth’s shadow obscuring the Moon (Earth passes between the moon and the sun); while in a solar eclipse, it is the Moon’s shadow obscuring the Earth (Moon passing between the Sun and the Earth). A solar eclipse can be partial, total or annular. A partial eclipse occurs when the Moon only partially obscures the Sun while a total eclipse occurs when the Moon totally covers the Sun. A total eclipse is always preceded and followed by a partial eclipse. The annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is not “big” enough to cover entirely the Sun entirely.


The total solar eclipse next month means that the Moon will completely cover the Sun for a short period of time. In Little Rock, it will last around 2 minutes /  30 seconds. So, this specific alignment between Earth-Moon-Sun will be visible in a small area on Earth (called the path of totality) and Little Rock is part of that path! Indeed, for a lunar eclipse, half of the globe can enjoy it while for a solar eclipse only a small area on Earth is being covered by the Moon’s shadow. This is what makes a solar eclipse even more exceptional than a lunar eclipse. For most of us this is a once in a lifetime event. The next Total Solar Eclipse visible from Arkansas will be in 2045!


The best way to enjoy the Total Solar Eclipse is to wear solar glasses (ISO 12312-2) or welding glasses (with a shade level 14 filter). At UA Little Rock, we have a stock of 30,000 solar glasses for the people who stop by to watch with us. When the Moon totally covers the Sun, then you can look at it with your naked eyes. But as soon as totality is over, you need to wear your solar glasses to safely observe the Sun.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is indirectly via pinhole projection.


This type of celestial event is what humanity needs, it brings people together whatever their background, religion and social status. I noticed a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for this rare celestial event. I hope that this event will incite kids and high school students to come at UA Little Rock and study physical sciences with us.

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