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RCC to host 2024 Solar Eclipse Viewing Party April 8

There’s a solar eclipse coming, and Robeson Community College has you covered with all that you need to know and we even have a viewing party planned for all of those who are interested in seeing it safely for themselves.  

Robeson County, as well as the entire United States, will be in the path to witness a partial solar eclipse on Monday, April 8 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., which is when the viewing party will take place in the center lawn behind the RCC Library. The event is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend.

What exactly is a solar eclipse?

David Gavasci

“Every once in a while, the sun and moon come into alignment with the Earth,” stated David Gavasci, an astronomy instructor at Robeson Community College. “There is usually a 5º difference, and that’s why we don’t get an eclipse every month.”

“The moon passes in front of the sun, and that causes the eclipse,” Gavasci explained.

Those closer to the path of the sun and moon in states like Texas and Maine will get to experience a total solar eclipse, or totality eclipse as Gavasci called it, where there will be total darkness for a period of time as the moon obscures the sun.

Gavasci says the Lumberton will experience an eclipse with 80% coverage.

“We will still have a nice coverage to look at through the telescopes and solar glasses,” Gavasci said. “It will be very impressive through the telescopes.”

RCC will have telescopes set up, as well as special binoculars and special solar glasses, so that those on campus as well as the community can view the solar eclipse safely without damaging their vision.

“Never look at the sun without special eye protection,” Gavasci warns.

He adds, “Do not use regular sunglasses to view the eclipse, you will go blind… I want people to fully understand this, that’s why we are offering this opportunity to come view the eclipse safely at Robeson Community College.”

“The solar glasses that RCC will have available were factory made and inspected by the government and are within the industry standards,” Gavasci assures us. 

“I hope that people will come out and enjoy it. You can watch it on TV, you can stream it, but there is nothing like seeing it in person.”

Moments like these are rare, the next time a total eclipse will pass through the continental United States will be 2044.

“I’ve always been interested in astronomy,” Gavasci said. “I’m fascinated by the vastness and uncertainty of it, there’s a natural curiosity when looking up at the sky, so much is unknown and there is still so much that we do not know or understand… it is just so very interesting.”

“The astronomy class at RCC is really popular,” Gavasci added. “It stimulates your curiosity and students tend to be really interested in that class because it is so fascinating to study.”

If the eclipse sparks your interest, the next astronomy class at Robeson Community College will be held this fall, starting August 15.

But until then, don’t miss the viewing party at RCC on Monday, April 8 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. So come join us for an afternoon of star gazing at the sun and moon, in a safe space, with the proper equipment. It’s going to be out-of-this world!