Skip to main content

Mississippi State University Libraries Mississippi State University Mississippi State University


Research Guides

Solar Eclipse 2017

A research guide to find information about MSU Activities for the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017. This guide also has research information about solar eclipses.

General Event Information



What is it? "On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk." Find out more at: Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? and How?

Why is it called the "Great American Solar Eclipse?" The August 2017 Solar Eclipse is called this because nearly everyone in America will be able to view some form of the eclipse. Totality for the eclipse occurs from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

What to look for: Stars in the daytime sky and animals exhibiting twilight behavior (ex: birds chirping, cows going home, etc.)

Safety Information: Do not look directly at the sun during the eclipse! With part of the solar disk blocked, the light from the Sun is diminished but it is still strong enough to cause permanent eye damage. Use a solar filter, solar eclipse glasses, a pin-hole viewer, or other specialized equipment to view the eclipse.

DO NOT look directly at the sun without approved glasses as it is likely to cause permanent eye damage.

DO NOT point an unprotected camera at the sun at any time, including your cell phone.


Map showing the path of totality for the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.
Credit: Fred Espenak/NASA GSFC

A listing of Videos related to the 2017 Solar Eclipse

MSU Solar Eclipse Information

Date: August 21, 2017

Location: Mississippi State University Drill Field

Start of the Partial Eclipse: 11:56 am

Maximum Eclipse: 1:27 pm

End of Partial Eclipse: 2:54 pm

Percent of Eclipse in Starkville: 89%

What to Bring: A chair/blanket, pin hole viewer, and/or solar protected equipment

Provided by MSU: Telescopes, pin hole viewers, water, and 1000 eclipse glasses

**For students, staff and visitors who do not have protective eyewear, it is much safer to stay indoors and watch the eclipse on TV or the internet.  Televisions in the McCool Hall atrium will be turned to the eclipse for safe viewing**

Map: The Drill Field is located at the Maroon Star on the map below. SMART transit stops are indicated with a blue marker.

Contact Information:

Dr. Angelle Tanner (MSU Astronomer), 662-325-4112

Dr. Donna Pierce (MSU Astronomer), 662-325-2914

Randy Niffeneger (MSU Astronomy Club President)


Note for School Administrators:

Please contact Dr. Angelle Tanner with any questions pertaining to the 2017 Solar Eclipse.

The MSU Press Release is available here!


Parking for the Eclipse

Parking on campus for the event will be limited.

1. Starkville – Mississippi State University Area Rapid Transit (S.M.A.R.T.) is committed to provide safe, efficient and reliable mobility options. You can use the SMART transit to get to campus from most locations in Starkville. Please visit their webpage to view pickup locations and times.

2. MSU Visitor Parking is free for the first day and $3 subsequent day. Visit the MSU Parking & Transit Services webpage to request a visitor pass online. Visitors may also visit the Parking Services Office in the Roberts Building to receive a visitor parking pass.

3. Hourly Parking may be available in the new Old Main Academic Center. The Parking Garage has 148 hourly parking spaces - $3 for the first hour, $1 for every additional hour, daily max of $15. The pay machines are in the exit lanes and only accept credit and debit cards - no cash or coins. For more parking information, see Parking and Transit Services.

Pre-Eclipse Lecture:

Join Dr. Donna M. Pierce, MSU Associate Professor & Astronomer, for a special lecture on Sunday, August 20th at 4pm in the Rodgers Auditorium (room 100) of McCool Hall. Called "Chasing Shadows: Understanding the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017," this lecture will discuss the upcoming Solar Eclipse. For more information, see this link.

To view a livestream of the lecture, the East Mississippi Chapter of the NWA and AMS will be streaming live on their Facebook page. A link to the page is found here.