Radford University planning for August eclipse on campus and in Nashville, TN

RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Researchers at Radford University are hoping for a nice night out August's solar eclipse.

In Radford there will be an eclipse covering up 91% of the sun.

So a team will be heading to Nashville, Tennessee to see the first total solar eclipse since 1979 on August 21.

The team of ten students, lead by Radford Solar Physics Instructor Michael Freed, will join other groups in 60 locations in the Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse Experiment.

They will set up their equipment at a Nashville-area high school, pass out special glasses to students and conduct several associated activities before the eclipse begins around 1 p.m.

Freed explained the project, "Every site is only going see total darkness for about two minutes and so we're all going to try to take an image and then, later, compile all of those images together to make one great movie."

The video will be available to the public. But it will also help answer what happens to material moving from the sun to earth, as one area isn't normally available to test.

"We are still missing vital information very close to the solar disk," Freed said. "This is the region that we're going to be able to see during the eclipse, so we'd like to see what happens, what's the evolution of all this plasma in the upper atmosphere of the sun and how that changes overtime."

But the team of eleven won't be the only ones from Southwest Virginia able to see a 100% eclipse.

Radford Physics Professor Rhett Herman said, "We are going to use the planetarium for the first time with live streaming back from their group here into the planetarium. A lot of people can't get to the path of totality, but we are going to get them as close as possible with that live streaming hear at the university."

During the 1:10-4:10 p.m. period, participants will be going into the planetarium at pre-set times to chat with Freed’s group in the field. The totality will occur between 2:25 and 2:50 p.m.

On top of that, Radford will host hands-on activities and a telescope with a solar filter pointed at the sun in order to share as much about the eclipse as possible.

"The more we know about it, the more people that appreciate it, I think the better understanding they will have of our solar system, and frankly our universe in general," Herman said.

The events at Radford are free and open to anyone.

The planetarium can only seat 57 at a time to see the eclipse and learn about it.

But Herman said he has 1,500 of these solar glasses available so people can look up at the sun in a month and see the rare event.