Tarleton State to Host Eclipse Viewing at Memorial Stadium


STEPHENVILLE — On April 8, Memorial Stadium at Tarleton State University will host a viewing of the solar eclipse from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public, with seating restricted to the stands. No field access will be available.

Total solar eclipses over the United States are rare, with the next visible one slated for Aug. 23, 2044, according to NASA. Totality will begin in Texas at 1:27 p.m. CDT and end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. EDT. Totality in Stephenville will be reached at approximately 1:39 p.m. CDT.

“The last time Texas saw a total solar eclipse was 1878,” said event organizer Lindsay Hope, Manager of Licensing and Trademarks at Tarleton State. “This is truly a rare event that shouldn’t be missed. We are thrilled to open up the stands at Memorial Stadium for people to get the best view possible. We plan to stream a telescope live onto the big screen—it will be an amazing sight.”

Nearly 600 students from area high schools are committed to attend, with more expected to be added in the coming weeks. Campus tours will be offered every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to noon for prospective students. Additionally, the College of Science and Mathematics (COSM) will have information tables and demonstrations set up.

“With our amazing planetarium, observatory at Hunewell Ranch, and strong College of Science and Mathematics programs, joining forces to celebrate one of the biggest celestial events of the year was an easy decision,” said Hope. “The COSM faculty came to the table with amazing ideas to educate and inspire, and their passion has been evident. We have also worked with the city of Stephenville to envision an unforgettable event for everyone to enjoy.”

The city of Stephenville has purchased t-shirts to distribute for the event, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited edition eclipse t-shirts featuring Oscar P. and the text “Dark Side of the Sun,” a parody of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” are available to order through Texans Campus Store.

“I never imagined that we would get an opportunity to host a total eclipse event here at Tarleton on such a large scale in the football stadium,” said Dr. Shaukat Goderya, Director of the Observatory and Professor in the physics department. “I am just thrilled and excited to be part of it during my tenure here at Tarleton.  For many of us, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime event in our backyards. Take some time out from your busy workday and enjoy the wonders of nature while following the safe observing procedures.”

Conversations surrounding Tarleton State hosting started in 2022, with physics department Professors Dr. Mike Hibbs and Dr. Goderya engaging in discussion with Planetarium Director Jason Jacks to work on a plan to make Tarleton a viewing destination.

In late September of last year, the Tarleton State Planetarium then began showing “Totality Over Texas,” a full-dome show providing an overview of the annular eclipse in October 2023 and the total solar eclipse this April.

Jacks has been an integral part in working with local schools to bring students to Tarleton State to view the total solar eclipse.

“Outreach is an important part of our College of Science and Mathematics mission,” he said. “The planetarium and members of the Society of Physics Students have been providing opportunities for school-aged children and the general public to learn more about eclipses so that their experience will be that much more exciting and meaningful on April 8.”

With a crowd of thousands expected in Memorial Stadium, Jacks is excited to see the reactions when totality occurs.

“Part of me thinks the children will cheer and yell because the anticipation is finally over. Another part of me thinks the entire stadium will go silent for a few moments when they notice that every dog will be barking and every bird will be singing as though it was dawn’s early morning light. I just can’t imagine. But I certainly am excited to find out.”

Eclipse viewing glasses will be provided while supplies last. Solar filters such as eclipse glasses or solar viewers should be utilized by those planning to look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun. Visit https://www.tarleton.edu/eclipse/ to learn more about the event, including safety information.

Concessions will be available for purchase, with a clear bag policy in effect.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.