Events

Upcoming Events

  • July 10 – November 1, 2017 – Eclipse Exhibit at the Fairfield County Museum in Winnsboro, SC

On May 28, 1900, a total solar eclipse passed through the small town of Winnsboro, SC.  Davidson college professor and future College president Dr. Henry Louis Smith, along with astronomers from a number of other universities, took part in an expedition to the small town to observe and study the eclipse.  During the 19th and early 20th century, it was common for American universities to assemble such expeditions to study the Sun and physical phenomena during eclipses.  Of all of the great eclipse expeditions of this era, there are only 2 observing stations that are in the path of totality for the 2017 Great American Eclipse, and Winnsboro, SC is one of these!  This museum exhibit commemorates the history of the 1900 eclipse and the connection to Davidson College via Dr. Smith, while also celebrating the 2017 Great American Eclipse.  Stop by the museum to view a 19th century telescope and various historical letters and documents connecting the small town of Winnsboro to such an important piece of scientific history!


  • August 5, 2017 – Great American Eclipse Professional Development Workshop – Engaging students before, during, and after the Great American Eclipse

Location:  First United Methodist Church in Winnsboro, SC

Time:  10 am – 1 pm

Prior to the May 28, 1900 eclipse in Winnsboro, Professor W.B. Witherow of the Mt. Zion Institute provided the public a chance to learn about the eclipse.  As recorded in the May 5, 1900 issue of The Fairfield News and Herald, “For several weeks Prof. Witherow has been giving the pupils of Mt. Zion practical talks on various phenomena in connection with the coming eclipse…Today at 10 o’clock an opportunity will be given the citizens of the community to enjoy an hour’s study in preparation for the observation of the eclipse. At that hour Prof. Witherow … will be glad to have all interested persons to come.”

To honor the work of Professor Prentiss and to involve the community in learning about eclipses, I will be leading this workshop which is designed to help K-12 educators and other community leaders (scouts, 4-H, church, etc.) prepare for the eclipse.  Interactive strategies for engaging students before, during, and after the eclipse will be presented.  Participants will receive instruction on basic eclipse science, learn about eclipse safety precautions, and learn how to excite students through various activities, models, and demonstrations.  Small sets of solar viewing glasses will be provided to all participants and light snacks will be served.  This workshop is FREE but limited to the first 15 registrants.

To register – fill out the form located here: https://goo.gl/forms/85V77CCqn1fWyRgF2

Event Flyer (click for larger or printable version)


  • August 12, 2017 – Davidson WOW Outing – Great American Eclipse 2017:  What to expect when the daytime sky goes dark

Take part in this outing to learn about the upcoming solar eclipse!  The event will begin with a short presentation about solar eclipses, how to safely observe them, what you can see during the eclipse from Davidson, and how the partial eclipse experience compares to that of totality.

The outing is for children 7 years of age and older and their families.  Pre-registration is required.  to register, send an email to dlc.wow@gmail.co with the names of all participants (parents and children), ages of the children, any allergies, and a phone number.  Additional event details will be sent to those with a confirmed registration.


  • August 20, 2017 – Public Lecture about the Great American Eclipse – The Sun and the Coming Eclipse

Location:  Christ Central Community Center, Winnsboro, SC

Time:  7 pm

Professor Robert W. Prentiss of Rutgers College presented an evening lecture entitled The Sun and the Coming Eclipse at the courthouse in Winnsboro two days prior to the 1900 eclipse.  According to The Fairfield News and Herald, “The admission fee [was] 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.  The first twenty dollars of the proceeds will go to Prof. Prentiss and the balance to Mt. Zion Library.”

For the Great American Eclipse, I will present a public lecture by the same name as that delivered by Professor Prentiss – The Sun and the Coming Eclipse.  Join us to hear about the 1900 eclipse expedition, how to view the eclipse safely, and what to expect during totality.  Unlike the lecture from 1900, this event is FREE and open to the public.  No tickets or advance registration is required.  However, if you would like to donate 25 cents per adult and 10 cents per child, we would be happy to donate all proceeds to the library as well!


  • August 21, 2017 – Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party – The Sun, the Moon, and You:  A commemorative eclipse celebration

Location: Garden Street Park Ballfield, Winnsboro, SC – Located at the corner of N. Garden Street and Drayton Street. Note that this is NOT where your GPS will bring you if you use ‘Garden Street Park’ as your destination.

Time:  1 – 4 pm

Event Parking:  There is no way to guess how many visitors will join us for this event.  As Winnsboro is a small town, there is a lot of street parking and small lot parking.  Winnsboro police will be out directing parking near the ball field.  Overflow parking will be available at the old Walmart Shopping Center located at the corner of the 321 bypass and Ninth Street.  A parking attendant will be there, and a free shuttle service to and from the ball park will be provided from  12 noon – 5 pm.

Join us to celebrate totality! The first 2700 guests to this event will receive a pair of FREE solar glasses to safely observe the eclipse!  In addition to the main event (the total eclipse), we will celebrate this historic event with FREE views of the Sun through our solar telescopes, solar eclipse exhibits, crafts, games for the kids, and eclipse-themed snacks.  It is sure to be a great time for the whole family!  Bring a blanket or lawn chair, a picnic basket, and some of your closest friends and get ready to party!

For observers in Winnsboro, totality will occur at 2:41 pm and will last for 1 minute and 21 seconds.  Although this does not seem like a long time, it will likely be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.  Before and after totality, observers will be able to see a partial eclipse as totality approaches.

This event is being planned in collaboration with the Fairfield County Museum in Winnsboro.  For more information about this and other eclipse-related events, visit the museum’s eclipse Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thesunthemoonandyou/

Event Flyer (click for larger or printable version)


  • August 21, 2017 – Davidson College Eclipse Party (for Davidson employees and students only)

A campus-wide eclipse celebration will be held on the day of the Great American Eclipse, which also happens to be the first day of classes for the 2017 – 2018 academic year!  All students, faculty, and staff will receive a free pair of solar glasses to safely observe the Sun during the eclipse, which will be seen as approximately 97% total from campus.

After taking part in an eclipse-themed lunch in Vail Commons, bring your eclipse glasses to Chambers Lawn from 2:30 – 3:00 pm to view the eclipse with a few thousand of your closest friends, professors, and colleagues!  Let’s make this the single most-attended event by the campus community in Davidson history!

Event Flyer (click for larger or printable version)

 

 

 

 





 

 

Past Events

  • April 22, 2017 – North Carolina Science Festival’s Statewide Star Party

Weather update (4/22/17 at 12:32 pm):  All weather forecasts are currently calling for cloudy conditions and a chance of thunderstorms tonight.  Therefore, we anticipate that the stargazing portion of our Statewide Star Party event will need to be cancelled.  However, we will still have our interactive demo show ‘Story of a Star’ at 6:30 pm and our public lecture by NASA Solar System Ambassador Larry Metcalf entitled ‘Practice, Practice, Practice for a Perfect Solar Eclipse at 7:30 pm, as originally planned.  Both events will be held in Dana 146.  Please join us!

Please join us on Saturday, April 22nd as Davidson College serves as a host site for the 2017 North Carolina Science Festival’s Statewide Star Party!  We will offer a trio of programs as part of this event.   As always, all events are free and open to the public!

6:30 – 7:30 pm in Dana 146

Story of a Star – Come learn all about stars during this interactive demo show!  We will discuss how stars form, how they live their lives, and what makes them unique.  This event will be fun and educational for all ages!

7:30 – 8:30 pm in Dana 146

Practice, Practice, Practice for the Perfect Solar Eclipse – NASA Solar System Ambassador Larry Metcalf will deliver a public lecture about the science of eclipses as well as how to safely view and photograph the phenomenon.  This is a perfect way to prepare for the total eclipse that will be passing through our area on August 21, 2017!

8:30 – 10:30 pm on the Campus Lawn

Stargazing – Join us for stargazing on the Campus Lawn.  You will be able to view planets, stars, and galaxies through the Physics Department’s telescopes.  Bring some friends and a blanket for a fun-filled night of stargazing.  This portion of the event is weather permitting.  In case of questionable weather conditions, check back here or at the Davidson College Physics Department Facebook page for updates on the day of the event.

Event Flyer (click for larger and/or printable version)


  • April 8, 2017 – Davidson Space Day

We had a great day with great fun and great weather! Thanks to all who stopped by.  Look for Davidson Space Day Version 2 next spring!

  • Join us for a fun-filled day of astronomy exploration on Saturday, April 8, 2017 for our 1st Davidson Space Day!  This event will be filled with fun space-themed programming for all ages in a carnival-like atmosphere.  As always, the event will be free and open to the public.  The event will be broken into three parts:

    3 – 6 pm:  Find us on Chambers lawn for an interactive astronomy fair during which you can explore various astronomy topics through numerous activities and demonstrations.  Why does the Moon appear to change shape?  Do humans glow in the dark?  Are all stars like our Sun?  What is a black hole like?  Come learn the answers to these questions and more!  You can also walk our scale model of the Solar System, sample some liquid nitrogen ice cream, safely view the Sun through our solar telescopes, and take home some fun crafts!  In case of inclement weather, the fair will be held indoors in the Dana Science Laboratory Building.

    7 – 8 pm:  Get off of your feet and relax for a few minutes while you enjoy a public lecture in Tyler-Tallman Hall of the Sloan Music Center.  NASA Solar System Ambassador Jack Howard will discuss the recent TRAPPIST-1 system discovery and where it fits into the search for Earth-like planets.  A title and abstract for the talk will be posted soon.  The talk will be “low tech” and appropriate for all ages.  Rain or shine, the show will go on.

    8 – 10 pm:  Following the public lecture, and after the Sun has set, wind down with nighttime stargazing and guided tours of the sky through our telescopes from Chambers lawn, weather permitting.  You will be able to gaze upon celestial objects such as planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies with your own eyes and learn about the springtime constellations.  Due to the nature of astronomy, the stargazing portion of the event will be canceled in the case of poor weather and/or cloudy sky conditions.  If the weather is questionable on the night of the event, either check back here or visit the ‘Davidson College Physics Department’ Facebook page to find weather and event updates.

    Bring your family, friends, and a blanket to spread on the lawn!  Feel free come and stay for the entire event or spend just a short time looking through the telescopes.

    A printable event flyer can be found below – please feel free to print as many copies and you wish and distribute to those who may be interested.  If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact me via phone or email (see my contact page).

    Event Flyer (click for larger and/or printable version)


  • December 1-3, 2016 – Davidson Star Party as part of Christmas in Davidson

Thanks to all who visited us to look through our telescope and make a Saturn and/or wire star Christmas ornament!

The Davidson College Society of Physics Students and Physics Department presented a star party in conjunction with the 2016 Christmas in Davidson celebration.  We set up along Main Street in front of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church.  We had three great nights of stargazing and crafting with the community!  If you missed us this year, be sure to find us in 2017!

The flyer from the event can be found below.

Event Flyer (click for printable version)


  • September 29, 2016 – Davidson Star Party

We had wonderful time at this event! Thanks to Dr. Brad Barlow for visiting us!

The Davidson College Society of Physics Students and Physics Department invite you to a Star Party to be held on the evening of Thursday, September 29th, 2016.  We will kick of the event with a public lecture by Dr. Brad Barlow of High Point University.  His talk is entitled “US 708:  The Most Extreme Hypervelocity Star in the Milky Way.”  The lecture will be held in Tyler-Tallman Hall at 7 pm.  After the lecture, join us as we set up telescopes on the front lawn of campus to view various stars, planets, nebulae, and galaxies.  Physics students and faculty members will be on hand to give you a tour of the sky and answer questions.  The event is free and open to the community.  Bring your family, friends, and a blanket to spread on the lawn.  Feel free come and stay for the entire event or spend just a short time looking through the telescopes.

The lecture will be held on September 29th regardless of weather.  However, due to the nature of astronomy, the stargazing portion of the event will be postponed in the case of inclement weather or cloudy skies.  A rain date for stargazing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4th – same place, same time.  If the weather is questionable on the date of the event, please check for weather and event status updates either on this webpage or on our ‘Davidson College Physics Department’ Facebook page.

A printable event flyer can be found below – please feel free to print and distribute to those who may be interested.  If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact me via phone or email (see my contact page).

Event Flyer (click for printable version)

29sept2016_starparty_ad


  • May 9th, 2016 – Transit of Mercury

Although it was a bit cloudy, we were able to get a few good peaks of Mercury!  See you in 2019 for the next transit!

On Monday, May 9th, Mercury’s path through the sky will cause it to pass between the Earth and the Sun.  This event, called a transit, will allow viewers on Earth to see the tiny planet moving across the disk of the Sun.  These events are relatively rare, with only about 13 Mercury transits occurring every century.  This will be the first transit of Mercury since 2006, and the last until 2019. It is important to remember that you should never look at the Sun without proper filters – and no, sunglasses are not proper filters!  If you wish to view this event, you must be very careful and be sure to protect your eyes.  The best way to do this is to come visit us!

Since the planet Mercury is only 1/194th of the Sun’s apparent diameter you will not be able to see the transit without the unaided eye.  You will need the help of a telescope or pair of binoculars that are properly equipped with adequate filters to ensure safe viewing.  The Physics Department owns two dedicated solar telescopes made exclusively for the safe viewing of the Sun.  Join us Monday, May 9th on the Chambers front lawn from 12:00 – 2:00 pm to view the transit!  Note that the sky must be clear to see the transit – if you can’t see the Sun, you can’t see Mercury!

Event Flyer (click link for printable version)

Mercury Transit Ad


  • April 29th, 2016 – Fisher Farms Stargazing

We had a huge turnout at this event!  Thanks for all who attended!

Our biggest event of the year!  The Davidson Physics Department partners with the Davidson Land Conservancy and the Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club two times a year (spring and fall) to host a stargazing party at Fisher Farm Park, just outside the Town of Davidson.  This year, the spring event will be held on Friday, April 29th from 8:30 – 10:30 pm.  Physics faculty and members of the Society of Physics Students will set up several telescopes and a set of binoculars to view a variety of targets throughout the night.  Members of the Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club will also provide several telescopes for viewing.  Bring your family and friends for a fun night of stargazing!  As with all stargazing events, clear skies are essential.  In the case of cloudy skies, the event will be canceled until our next star party in the fall.  If weather is questionable, you can come back to this page on the day of the event to check the weather status and find out if the event will be held.


  • April 8th, 2016 – Davidson Star Party

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Star Party Friday night.  The event was a great success, even though we occasionally had to peek through the clouds.  We look forward to our next event!

The Davidson College Society of Physics Students and Physics Department invite you to a Star Party to be held on the evening of Friday, April 8th, 2016 from 8:30 – 10:30 pm.  Join us as we set up telescopes on the front lawn of campus to view various stars, planets, nebulae, and galaxies.  Physics students and faculty members will be on hand to give you a tour of the sky and answer questions.  The event is free and open to the community.  Bring your family, friends, and a blanket to spread on the lawn.  Feel free come and stay for the entire event or spend just a short time looking through the telescopes.

Due to the nature of astronomy, the event will be postponed in the case of inclement weather or cloudy skies.  A rain date is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12th – same place, same time.  If the weather is questionable on the date of the event, please check for weather and event status updates either on this webpage or on our ‘Davidson College Physics Department’ Facebook page.

A printable event flyer can be found below – please feel free to print and distribute to those who may be interested.  If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact me via phone or email (see my contact page).

Event Flyer (click link for printable version)

Event Flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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