The solar system will welcome the new semester with an awesome show for us earthlings. Take a break from the first day of teaching on August 21 and come watch the solar eclipse. While we won’t see a total eclipse in Central Illinois, it still promises to be a darn spectacular sight, with about 94 percent coverage!

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT) will have a limited supply of solar viewing glasses and a ton of fresh popcorn to satisfy both your astronomical and gastronomical cravings. Faculty and staff are welcome to stop by CTLT’s offices in the Instructional Technology and Development Center starting around 12:30 p.m. We’ll be gathering outside the front of the building to observe the celestial show. The moon will reach maximum coverage of the sun around 1:18 p.m.

If you’re looking to incorporate the eclipse into your Monday classes, NASA has a detailed website devoted to this rare event. It includes interactive maps and free handouts.

Of course, when viewing the eclipse, safety is important. Like mom told you, never look directly at the sun! If you don’t have special solar viewing glasses, consider creating a simple pinhole sun projector.

If you can’t make it to CTLT for the partial eclipse, NASA will stream images from locations across North America. In the event of rain, we’ll have the stream (and the popcorn) available in the CTLT Resource Commons.