Radford University professor speaks on public radio program about the upcoming total solar eclipse

Radford University Professor Rhett Herman recently appeared on public radio to discuss the upcoming total solar eclipse and how the RU Planetarium will celebrate the event.

The first total solar eclipse in the United States since 1979 will cut a path of darkness from Oregon to South Carolina on Aug. 21.

Professor Rhett Herman, who teaches physics and astronomy at Radford University, has his eyes – though not directly – trained on the big event when the moon will completely cover the sun.

Herman will speak in an interview on the With Good Reason public radio program about the event and plans for celebrating and viewing the spectacular phenomenon at the Radford University Planetarium.

The radio program will air Aug. 12-18 on more than 60 radio stations across the United States.

Listeners in the New River Valley can hear the show at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 14 on Public Radio WVRU 89.9. Programs also are available as podcasts at withgoodreasonradio.org.

Radford University solar physicist Mike Freed will lead a team of eight physics majors on Aug. 21 to Nashville, Tennessee, to witness the first total solar eclipse.

Freed and his team are working as part of the Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse Experiment, which will capture images of the solar corona using telescopes in 60 different locations across the country. They will set up their equipment at a Nashville-area high school, pass out special glasses to students and conduct several associated activities before the eclipse begins around 1 p.m. The images they capture will eventually be stitched together with other images from across the United States, resulting in a 90-minute-long film of the event.

Freed’s team will also live stream the eclipse to Radford University’s planetarium.

“The eclipse itself starts here around 1:10 p.m., hits its maximum around 2:40 p.m. and is over by around 4:10 p.m.” Herman said.

Prior to the solar event, the planetarium will air special shows interspersed with hands-on activities that will be most appropriate for ages 6-11. Herman will set up a telescope pointed at the sun with a solar filter so guests can look at the eclipse through the telescope. People should not look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection, Herman and Freed urged. Special glass will be available at the planetarium the day of the eclipse.

During the 1:10-4:10 p.m. period, participants will be going into the planetarium at pre-set times to chat with Freed’s group in the field. The totality will occur between 2:25 and 2:50 p.m.

The With Good Reason radio program is produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium and is broadcast on public radio stations in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

With Good Reason has won five Gabriel Awards for Best Documentary or Public Affairs Programs, and is the recipient of top honors from the Public Radio News Directors, Radio and Television Digital News Association and the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.


Aug 11, 2017
Chad Osborne