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College of Arts & Sciences
Physics and Astronomy

Public Lecture: "Solar Eclipses: The Dread and the Fascination"

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 19:00 to 20:30

Location and Details:

W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall (Room #101)
Darla Moore School of Business
University of South Carolina
1014 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208


7:00 pm


Dr. Sarbani Basu

Professor and Chair of the Department of Astronomy
Member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Universities in Research in Astronomy (AURA)
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut


There is an almost five thousand year history of solar eclipses.  The occurrences of solar eclipses, with the day turning dark, have been hailed as portents of the future.  Much later, eclipses began to be used to study the outer layers of the Sun.  A solar eclipse was also used as a means to carry out one of the first tests of General Relativity.  Even today, eclipses fascinate people, and although we can create eclipses within a telescope (using a coronagraph), scientists still flock to eclipse sites.  The eclipse on August 21, 2017 will be visible over a large part of the U.S. and many people -- tourists, educators, and scientists -- are trying their best to be where the eclipse will be visible.  This makes this a good occasion to look back to other eclipses and put the upcoming one in context.  This talk will therefore explore the history of solar eclipses and make a tally of what humankind has learned from them.

For more information, please visit:

Department of Physics and Astronomy - Dr. Basu Public Lecture 

Total Eclipse Weekend - Dr. Basu Public Lecture 

Department of Physics and Astronomy - Total Solar Eclipse 

University of South Carolina - Total Solar Eclipse