Todd Timberlake2017 Solar Eclipse

2017 Solar Eclipse

The August 21, 2017 solar eclipse was a big deal at Berry.  Although we did not experience a total solar eclipse, we did get a partial eclipse with almost 98% coverage of the Sun.  Berry provided support to the Rome and Floyd county community to help educate people about the eclipse and to ensure safe viewing of the eclipse by as many people as possible.  We also hosted our own eclipse event at Berry’s Valhalla football stadium, which was attended by more than a thousand people.  This page provides details about Berry’s solar eclipse activities.

Eclipse Viewing Cards

Berry physics and astronomy professor Dr. Todd Timberlake worked with the Marketing and eCommunications office, as well as Creative Services, to design a custom-printed eclipse viewing card featuring the Berry logo and iconic Ford buildings.

The cards were produced by Rainbow Symphony, an authorized supplier of ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse cards and glasses.  Berry ordered over 4000 of these viewing cards.  Most were distributed to local schools: 1400 to the Floyd County Schools, 1000 to Rome City Schools, 200 to Berry Elementary and Middle, and a few to other private schools.  Another 500 were donated to the Sara Hightower Public Library for distribution to the Rome community.  The remainder were given to attendees of lectures or held for use at Berry’s eclipse event (see below).

Eclipse Lectures

Dr. Timberlake gave five lectures, all entitled “Understanding and Safely Observing the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017,”  for various audiences in the Rome community.  Two of these lectures were open to the public, two more were reserved for local school teachers, and the final lecture was intended for Berry students, faculty, and staff as well as close friends of the college.  Details about these lectures are given below.

  • August 7, 2017, 7-8:30 PM: lecture for local teachers in McAllister Auditorium at Berry College.  About 30 attendees.
  • August 8, 2017, 7-8:15 PM: lecture for the public at the Sara Hightower Library in Rome, GA. This lecture was recorded and the video is available on the Library’s Channel 4 web page.  About 80 attendees.
  • August 10, 2017, 7-8:30 PM: lecture for local teachers in McAllister Auditorium at Berry College.  About 20 attendees.
  • August 15, 2017, 7:30-8:45 PM: lecture for the public in McAllister Auditorium at Berry College.  About 180 attendees.
  • August 20, 2017, 7:30-8:45 PM: lecture for the Berry community in McAllister Auditorium.  The auditorium was overfull and Dr. Christy Snider and Dr. Shawn Hilbert worked to record the lecture on a smart phone and simultaneously broadcast the lecture in Berry’s Evans Auditorium (which also nearly filled).  We estimate about 400 attendees between the two locations.  The video is available here.

Eclipse Videos

Dr. Timberlake also starred in a few short educational videos.  You can see his video on how to safely view eclipses (produced by Berry’s Office of Marketing and Communications) .

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Dr. Timberlake starred in another video (produced by the Sara Hightower Library) that explains how eclipses work and discusses a low-tech way to view a solar eclipse.

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The Berry Eclipse Event

On August 21, 2017 from 1 to 4 PM Berry’s Valhalla football stadium became the location of a huge eclipse party!  More than a thousand people came to the stadium to watch the partial solar eclipse.  The Department of Physics, Astronomy, & Geology handed out eclipse viewing cards, the Student Work Office handed out Moon Pies, and Dr. Timberlake helped attendees view the eclipse through properly filtered telescopes and binoculars while eclipse-themed music played from the stadium sound system.  Everyone had the opportunity to watch the progress of the eclipse and in the eerie false twilight at the eclipse maximum (around 2:35 PM) we saw Venus shining in the western skies.

Soon we will have galleries of photos showing the eclipse event, photos of the eclipse taken from the event, and a Spotify playlist of the eclipse-themed music at the event.

Photos of the Event

Photos of the Eclipse Taken at Berry

Eclipse Photos from Other Locations

Photos by Brad Barker taken from near the Congaree National Park in South Carolina.

Eclipse-themed Playlist

What to do with your eclipse cards/glasses

If you have leftover glasses or cards for viewing the eclipse, please send them to Dr. Timberlake (PO Box 5004, Mount Berry, GA 30149) or drop them in his box outside McAllister Hall 338.  He will donate the glasses and cards to Astronomers Without Borders so that they can be sent to school children in Asia and South America to allow them to safely observe upcoming solar eclipses.  Please send all glasses/cards by the end of September, 2017.


Dr. Timberlake would like to express his gratitude toward all those who helped to make this event special, including but not limited to: Chris Kozelle, Nancy Rewis, Kathy Clements, Stephanie McNeal, Chuck Meeks, Delana Hickman, Rufus Massey, Debbie Heida, Todd Brooks, Tony Kunczewski, Blake Childers, Rhonda Hancock, Regina Launier, Nathan Gaby, William Newman, Vedant Mehta, and Truong Le.