UGA to Host Solar Eclipse ‘Blackout’ Viewing at Sanford Stadium

Staff Report From Athens CEO

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Those in search of a place to view the upcoming solar eclipse are welcome at the University of Georgia, which will open the doors to Sanford Stadium for an eclipse "blackout" between the hedges.

The event will take place on Aug. 21 from 1 to 4 p.m., and it is free and open to the public.

The first 10,000 guests to arrive at the stadium will receive a free pair of glasses specially designed to view solar eclipses. Those who do not have protective glasses may view the eclipse live on the stadium's Jumbotron.

"The United States hasn't seen a total solar eclipse like this in nearly 100 years, and we won't see anything like it again in Georgia for decades," said John Knox, professor of geography at UGA and lead organizer of the event. "The moon will block about 99.1 percent of the sun here in Athens when the eclipse reaches peak darkness at 2:38 p.m., so the views from the stadium are going to be pretty spectacular."

Guests may enter and exit the stadium at Reed Plaza between gates two and four. Paid visitor parking is available in UGA's parking decks.

Organizers said the event will go on even if the sky is cloudy.

"We're obviously hoping for good weather on the day of the eclipse, but there's still plenty to see and observe even if we don't have a clear view of the sun," Knox said. "The temperature will drop by several degrees and it will look like a deep twilight."

Knox and other faculty experts will be at the event to explain the science and history of solar eclipses, and livestreams of the eclipse from other parts of the country will be broadcast on the Jumbotron while eclipse-themed music plays on the stadium speakers.

Door prizes-including a football signed by Kirby Smart and basketballs signed by Mark Fox and Joni Taylor-will be given to attendees beginning at 1 p.m. Concessions will also be available for purchase.

"While we want everyone to have fun and enjoy this amazing event, we want them to do it safely," Knox said. "I cannot stress enough that it is very dangerous to look at the sun without protective eyewear. Even during a solar eclipse, looking directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage."

Regular sunglasses and other dark lenses are not enough to protect your eyes from the sun, Knox said.

The event is sponsored by the Georgia Athletic Association, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Atmospheric Science Program and the Department of Geography.