Those in search of a place to view the upcoming solar eclipse are welcome at the University of Georgia, which will open the doors to Sanford Stadium for an eclipse “blackout” between the hedges.
The event will take place on Aug. 21 from 1 to 4 p.m., and it is free and open to the public.
The first 10,000 guests to arrive at the stadium will receive a free pair of glasses specially designed to view solar eclipses. Those who do not have protective glasses may view the eclipse live on the stadium’s Jumbotron.
“The United States hasn’t seen a total solar eclipse like this in nearly 100 years, and we won’t see anything like it again in Georgia for decades,” said John Knox, professor of geography at UGA and lead organizer of the event. “The moon will block about 99.1 percent of the sun here in Athens when the eclipse reaches peak darkness at 2:38 p.m., so the views from the stadium are going to be pretty spectacular.”
Guests may enter and exit the stadium at Reed Plaza between gates two and four. Paid visitor parking is available in UGA’s parking decks.
Organizers said the event will go on even if the sky is cloudy.
“We’re obviously hoping for good weather on the day of the eclipse, but there’s still plenty to see and observe even if we don’t have a clear view of the sun,” Knox said. “The temperature will drop by several degrees and it will look like a deep twilight.”
Knox and other faculty experts will be at the event to explain the science and history of solar eclipses, and livestreams of the eclipse from other parts of the country will be broadcast on the Jumbotron while eclipse-themed music plays on the stadium speakers.
Door prizes-including a football signed by Kirby Smart and basketballs signed by Mark Fox and Joni Taylor-will be given to attendees beginning at 1 p.m. Concessions will also be available for purchase.
“While we want everyone to have fun and enjoy this amazing event, we want them to do it safely,” Knox said. “I cannot stress enough that it is very dangerous to look at the sun without protective eyewear. Even during a solar eclipse, looking directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage.”
Regular sunglasses and other dark lenses are not enough to protect your eyes from the sun, Knox said.
The event is sponsored by the Georgia Athletic Association, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Atmospheric Science Program and the Department of Geography.
— Viewing the eclipse directly without protective glasses may result in serious eye damage.
— Please be sure to take proper precautions when viewing the eclipse. The American Astronomical Society’s recommendations for safely viewing the eclipse can be found at: https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety.
— There will be a limited number of protective glasses. They will be handed out by volunteers. Those who do not have protective glasses may view the eclipse on the Jumbotron.
— Parking on campus is set up for a normal academic day. There is no designated parking for this event. The UGA Transit system will be running as usual.
— All gates on the north side of the stadium from Gate 2 to Gate 4 will be open at 1 p.m.
— Guests are permitted to bring their own water bottles and backpacks.
— Restrooms will be open and ready.
— Concession stands at Section 109-110 will have fountain drinks, bottled water and packaged snacks.
— Water fountains are available throughout Reed Plaza and the north side of the stadium.
— The east end zone will be available for ADA seating.
— Three beverage portables with bottled water will be available at the top of section 102, 104-105 and 106-107.
— This is a regular academic and work day; class and work schedules are ongoing as normal.
* Only the first 10,000 to arrive will receive protective glasses. Those who do not have protective glasses may view the eclipse on the Jumbotron. Viewing the eclipse directly without protective glasses may result in serious eye damage.