Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Physics and Astronomy faculty, staff, and students teamed with the UI Sciences Library to host an eclipse viewing event on the Pentacrest and the Sciences Library Courtyard on April 8. Thousands of people attended the event, turning to the sky to witness the phenomenon. 

Solar eclipse glasses were distributed to look at the sun safely, and ADA-accessible solar telescopes were also available. Activities included building pinhole cameras for safe viewing of the sun.

Here is some media coverage of the event, featuring interviews with Physics and Astronomy faculty, staff and  explaining the partial solar eclipse:

KCRG-TV: Prof. Jasper Halekas and Caroline Roberts, coordinator of the astronomy labs and manager of Van Allen Observatory, discuss the event


WQAD-TV, Quad Cites: Prof. Greg Howes breaks down the solar eclipse (see also a story on WQAD website



KWWL: Profs. Hakelas, Howes, and grad student Sal Quaid talk about the eclipse


KWWL: Halekas gives a preview of the eclipse event



KGAN-TV: University of Iowa's sun-soaked spectacle: Thousands gather for rare solar eclipse

Astronomy professor Jasper Halekas said it's a rare moment he truly enjoys more than the average person.

"I study the sun, I study the moon, right now the solar eclipse is happening where the moon goes in front of the sun, so it's everything that I love all in one," said Halekas.

Astronomy student Zoe Ault said her department purchased 1,500 glasses so students could safely view the eclipse, so the crowd of thousands flocking to campus was a bit of a surprise. 

"I don't think that we expected this turn out at all," said Ault. "I think we kind of expected us to be the only ones really geeking out about it, so it's exciting to see this many people, and it makes my like heart warm for my department."

Daily Iowan: Thousands gather on UI campus for partial solar eclipse; Photo Gallery

Caroline Roberts interviewed by DITV during solar eclipse watch party on the Pentacrest
DITV interviews Caroline Roberts on the Pentacrest (Photo: Justin Torner, Staff Photographer - The University of Iowa)


Press Citizen: Locals gather on Iowa City's Pentacrest for solar eclipse — even without totality.


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