UofL professor offering class ahead of April 8, 2024 eclipse

UofL professor offering class ahead of April 8, 2024 eclipse

The sun took on a crescent shape Aug. 21, 2017, during a partial solar eclipse experienced in Louisville, as seen here in this University of Louisville photo taken on Belknap Campus. The April 8, 2024, eclipse will produce a similar scene in Louisville, b

The University of Louisville Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts & Sciences is offering an all-online class for anyone from school-age students to senior citizens ahead of the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse over north and central America.

While the eclipse will only be partially visible in Louisville, it can be experienced in its totality in a band about 100 miles wide from Mexico to Newfoundland, including most of southern Indiana like Paoli and Seymour, less than an hour away. 

“This will be so close to us in Louisville,” said Gerard Williger, professor of physics and astronomy, who is teaching the class. “Those who experience a total solar eclipse will remember it forever. It’s completely different from a partial eclipse: The temperature drops, birds go quiet, the wind dies down and a few bright stars and planets become visible.”

The course is entirely online and worth one college credit. The next time a total solar eclipse will occur this close to Louisville will be on Oct. 17, 2153.

“The course is unusual in that it does not fulfill a degree requirement, but rather is a free elective, like a golf or tennis class,” Williger said. “The goal is to inform people about this once-in-a-lifetime eclipse, and is not meant to take much time.”

“Special Topics: The Great North American Eclipse of 2024,” begins Jan. 8, 2024. The eclipse will be April 8, and the final class April 15. Lectures will be recorded for flexible viewing.

Visit the class page here for information on pricing and how to enroll. UofL employees may use their tuition remission benefit for the class.

Watching the partial solar eclipse on Belknap Campus on Aug. 21, 2017.

Topics include the sun and the solar system; eclipses in art, literature, folklore, film, music and television; the celestial sphere and exoplanets.

Cities outside the path of totality, like Louisville, will experience a partial solar eclipse and see a crescent-shaped sun. 

The city of Seymour is gearing up for crowds for the event and is offering five free viewing sites for eclipse-watchers. A festival is planned for the day before. Bloomington and Indianapolis, also within driving distance from Louisville, are planning for eclipse tourists.

For further information, contact Williger at gwilliger@louisville.edu or (502) 852-0821. 

This story originally appeared in UofL News