NASA designates MTSU as official eclipse viewing site

Photo courtesy of MTSU News

MTSU’s public eclipse-viewing event, The Great Tennessee Eclipse at MTSU, has been designated as one of the official NASA viewing sites in Tennessee.

The Aug. 21 event, hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, is now one of the six official sites in the greater Nashville area, and MTSU will collaborate with NASA to provide an enhanced viewing experience for the public. The event will include live music performed by student bands, live NASA and MTSU telescope feeds, self-guided science building tours and educational presentations.

MTSU Vice President for Marketing and Communications Andrew Oppmann said that the MTSU event was chosen due to the educational value that the university could provide to attendees.

“I think NASA was looking to provide a resource to the general public on sites that meet the educational criteria that would enhance the viewing experience,” Oppmann said. “MTSU applied for the recognition, and we were granted the recognition.”

To assist in the educational efforts during the event, NASA will provide the viewing party with eclipse information packets, fact sheets and promotional material. Eclipse-viewing glasses will also be provided at the event by Turner Construction, which donated 50,000 pairs of glasses to students in the Murfreesboro City and Rutherford County school systems.

Oppmann stated the importance of the university’s collaboration with NASA in organizing and presenting the event.

“We have the ability to draw upon them if we have scientific questions, if we have presentation questions,” Oppmann said.

MTSU will also be using graphics provided by NASA. The event’s main stage will include a science show with projections that will implement the NASA graphics to illustrate certain concepts and elements of the eclipse.

“During the event itself, we will switch live to NASA feeds, elsewhere in the country, before the totality comes to Murfreesboro on our large concert screens,” Oppmann said. “We will show what the totality looks like in Salem, Oregon, for example, before it gets to MTSU.”

The totality will begin at 1:29 p.m. and will last for approximately one minute in Murfreesboro.

“We have such a strong reputation in our physics and astronomy department, and, just having the opportunity to call NASA a partner in our enterprise, boosts our spirits,” Oppmann said.

The Great Tennessee Eclipse at MTSU will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the yard in front of the new science building and is open to the public.

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email

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