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Three Clemson scientists interviewed by national NPR science reporter about upcoming eclipse

June 7, 2017

(From left), Donald Liebenberg, Amber Porter and Dieter Hartmann. Photos by Jim Melvin

(From left) Donald Liebenberg, Amber Porter and Dieter Hartmann conducted interviews with NPR at the Clemson Broadcast Production studio. Photos by Jim Melvin

By Jim Melvin

CLEMSON, South Carolina – Three Clemson University astronomers were recently interviewed about the upcoming total solar eclipse by National Public Radio’s Nell Greenfieldboyce, a science and technology reporter based in Washington, D.C.

Professor Dieter Hartmann, adjunct professor Donald Liebenberg and lecturer Amber Porter – all of the department of physics and astronomy in the College of Science (COS) at Clemson University – spoke with Greenfieldboyce about “Eclipse Over Clemson,” the university’s upcoming on-campus event that will include in-person appearances by a slew of COS experts. Anyone interested in attending the viewing party can learn more by visiting clemson.edu/eclipse, which includes numerous stories and updates, and instructions about how to safely watch the eclipse. A full itinerary of the big day will be published in the coming weeks.

A total solar eclipse is most often a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The last coast-to-coast solar eclipse in the United States was recorded in 1918.

Though the entire continental U.S. will be able to witness portions of the eclipse, the total eclipse will only be visible on a narrow track stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. Clemson is located almost dead-center within this slender band. The eclipse will begin its pass over the Upstate at about 1:07 p.m. EDT and finish around 4:02 p.m. But the totality of the eclipse — the part that viewers will find the most fascinating — will begin around 2:37 p.m. and last less than three minutes.

The radio interviews were held Monday, June 5, in the Clemson Broadcast Production studio at the Clemson Conference Center and Inn. Greenfieldboyce conducted the interviews from her studio in Washington.

Hartmann, an internationally recognized scientist with numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, spoke in detail about a variety of eclipse-related subjects, including the Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) Experiment, which aims to capture images of the inner solar corona using a network of more than 60 telescopes operated by citizen scientists, high school groups and universities. Sean Brittain, a professor and colleague of Hartmann’s, will be operating one of these telescopes at Clemson University.

Liebenberg, who has personally witnessed and researched 26 total solar eclipses over the past 60-plus years, told the tale of his around-the-world adventures, including spending an astounding 74 minutes in totality aboard a Concorde supersonic jet. Liebenberg has spent more time in totality than anyone else on Earth.

Porter, who is the university’s lead coordinator for “Eclipse Over Clemson,” spoke about Clemson’s event plans, as well as going into detail about the science surrounding eclipses.

At NPR, Greenfieldboyce focuses on general science, NASA, and the intersection between technology and society. She has been on the science desk’s technology beat since she joined NPR in 2005.

NPR will broadcast the interviews nationally in the coming weeks. We will provide links to these interviews at a future date.



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