At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9, every table at Falling Sky Brewery in the EMU was filled. Students, faculty and members of the Eugene community came to hear a lecture by Scott Fisher, the Physics department Director of Undergraduate Studies.
An alumnus of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of science and a Ph.D., Fisher is a professional astronomer, researcher and outreach specialist. He has received over $40 million in federal grants over 3 years while working at the National Science Foundation.
The lecture was a typical classroom-style setup with projector slides, despite the fact that it was hosted in a brewery. Fisher started by providing background information on the planets and their relative sizes. He then dove into detail about the sun.
Fisher explained the relative size of the sun which is approximately 333,000 times the size of the Earth. He also discussed how the sun gives off energy via nuclear fusion — small nuclei bonding together. This is why the sun is 5800 Kelvin – nuclear fusion can only occur in extreme conditions.
At the end of the lecture, Fisher provided more details about the upcoming eclipse.
“It is literally a two-minute night,” Fisher said.
According to Fisher, the eclipse will begin at approximately 8:30 am and last about three hours. The two-minute night Fisher mentioned is when the moon will cover the majority of the sun, at about 10:15 am.
The best place to view the eclipse will be in the belt of totality — the region where the moon will completely cover the sun. In Oregon, this region includes Corvallis and Salem.
Fisher recommended viewing the eclipse from within the belt of totality, but said that if you hadn’t made plans already, it was probably too late.
The solar eclipse will occur the morning of Monday, August 21.