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Hobart and William Smith In Geneva Solar Eclipse Events


On Monday, April 8, HWS is hosting an eclipse gathering where the campus community can come together to view the rare total solar eclipse. Classes are suspended for the afternoon so we can celebrate this unique event with an afternoon of fun and informative activities.

In anticipation of the Total Solar Eclipse, Associate Professor of Physics Leslie Hebb tests her telescope to examine sunspots with Andy Dinh ’27.

“Over the past year, our campus has been exploring the sun and the incredible impact it has on our lives,” says Associate Professor of Physics Leslie Hebb, who coordinated the Year of the Sun programming and activities through the 2023-24 academic year. “We are excited that the day is nearly here, and we are ready to celebrate the eclipse!”

At 1:15 p.m. on April 8, Hebb and President Mark D. Gearan will introduce the afternoon events on Stern Lawn, where Hebb and Local Eclipse Student Ambassadors from various academic concentrations have organized activities and educational stations. The 2024 eclipse will begin at 2:07 p.m., reaching its peak for approximately two minutes at 3:21 p.m. and concluding around 4:30 p.m.

Students, faculty and staff can pick up their solar eclipse glasses at the check-in table outside Warren Hunting Smith Library. There, HWS community members will also receive a passport card directing them to the Year of the Sun stations on campus. Students who check in will be entered into a contest to win prizes. Alumni can receive their glasses at the Adams Intercultural Center beginning at noon.

Sponsored by Hobart and William Smith student government, activities will be held beginning at 1 p.m. on Stern and Smith Lawn, in the Warren Hunting Smith Library, Scandling Campus Center and Bartlett Theatre. Eclipse Student Ambassadors wearing yellow shirts will be available to answer questions on a range of topics.  Activities include:

  • Eclipse Introductory Video. In the Geneva Room of the library, a short (5-minute) introductory video by Hebb will be played on a loop explaining the science behind solar eclipses and discussing eye safety recommendations.
  • Telescope Stations. Four telescopes will be set up around Stern Lawn where Hebb and students from the HWS Astronomy Club will assist participants in viewing the sun during the eclipse.
  • NASA Live Feed. A live feed from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the total eclipse as it occurs across the US will be shown in Bartlett Theatre.
  • Solar System Walk. Along St. Clair Street from the corner of Pulteney to the Barn, a scale model of the solar system will be set up. The model scales down the size of planets and the distances between them, so that the sun is the size of a volley ball instead of a diameter of 695,000 kilometers and the distance from the sun to Pluto is 1 kilometer instead of 5.9 billion kilometers.
  • Solar Panel Display. A solar panel demonstration will explain the science behind solar electric power on Stern Lawn.
  • Sun & Music Listening. Associate Professor of Music Katherine Walker and students will table on Stern Lawn, sharing music inspired by the Sun.
  • Student Art Display. The Provenzano Student Art Gallery in the Scandling Campus Center will host guest artwork that has been created in conjunction with the solar eclipse.
  • Solar Eclipse Model. On the second floor of the library itself, an exhibit coordinated by Gabrielle LaBare, Instruction and Engagement Librarian, will showcase a functional 3-D topographical model of the Earth-Moon system depicting a total solar eclipse; the exhibit will also include various scientific information about the eclipse and a tactile display of the ways eclipses have been rendered throughout history.
  • Archival Exhibit. An online archival exhibit curated by Interim Archivist and Special Collections Librarian Brandon Moblo will look back on the history of astronomy at HWS and the last total eclipse observable from campus in 1925.
  • Shooting the Moon (and Sun). Retired Lead Photographer Kevin Colton L.H.D. ’23 and students in his “Intro to Imaging” class will be photographing and available to discuss how they have prepared to photograph the eclipse. Colton will also lead a How to Photograph the Eclipse Safely talk at the Geneva Public Library on Monday, March 25.
  • Ancient and Medieval History of Solar Astronomy. Classics and history students will be tabling in front of Smith Hall explaining how the solar event has been observed and understood since ancient times.
  • Music and Food. HWS student band “Moonflower” and “AmeriCosmos” with Matt Venuti will perform on the Scandling Café Patio. Food trucks will be available for students.
Faculty, staff, alumni and parents must register themselves and any family members who are attending HERE.A limited supply of eclipse glasses will be available. For purchase, boxed lunches are available while registering.

HWS students do not need to register. Students will be provided with glasses and passports at check-in. Food trucks will be available for HWS students only.

Before the eclipse, the HWS community is invited to view The Sun Dance Way at noon in the Adams Intercultural Center. The documentary about the Sun Dance ceremony of the Crow and Shoshone Native Americans.

Learn more about HWS Year of the Sun celebration here.

In the local community in the weeks leading up to the solar eclipse. The Machine’s performance of Pink Floyd songs (Saturday, April 6 at 8 p.m.) and a screening of the film Flash Gordon (Sunday, April 7 at 7 p.m.) at the Smith Opera House. Immediately following the eclipse, the Smith will host a post-eclipse cocktail hour with refreshments.

On Sunday, April 7 at 8 a.m., BluePrint Geneva and The Geneva YMCA will sponsor a Run the Eclipse 5K race.

Learn more about other City of Geneva’s eclipse events at eclipsegeneva.com.

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