OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Solar eclipse experts at Oregon State University

07/12/2017

CORVALLIS, Ore. – On Aug. 21, there will be a total solar eclipse of the sun across North America. Oregon will be the first state to view the eclipse.

Oregon State University is located within the “path of totality,” where the moon will completely block the sun at about 10:17 a.m. The university has three days of eclipse-related events planned, including launching a high-altitude balloon as part of a first-ever project to capture video footage of the eclipse as it traverses the country.

Oregon State also has experts that can talk to journalists about different facets of the eclipse:

Randal Milstein is an astronomy instructor in the Department of Physics, University Honors College and College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU, and Astronomer-in-Residence for the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. He has given public presentations about the cultural history, viewing safety and physics of the solar eclipse. He can discuss the earliest human records, significant historical events and how human understanding of solar eclipses evolved with advances in astronomy. In his role with NASA Space Grant, he advises students from Oregon and other states in their efforts to monitor and record the eclipse through high-altitude balloons. Contact: 541-737-2414 or milsteinr@oregonstate.edu.

Martin Fisk, a professor emeritus in OSU's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. He co-teaches Astrobiology, an undergraduate colloquium, and continues to use data from the Mars Curiosity Rover to conduct research on Mars. One topic in the Astrobiology colloquium is the importance of the Moon for life on Earth. Contact: 541-737-5208 or mfisk@coas.oregonstate.edu.

Tyler Parsotan is a third-year physics graduate student at OSU studying astrophysics. He can talk about the physics behind the eclipse and how the physics influences the rarity of this type of event. He will be helping with physics outreach during the weekend before the eclipse, particularly with the night time astronomy observations where there will be telescopes out for the public to look at celestial objects. Contact: parsotat@oregonstate.edu.

Jack Higginbotham, director of the Oregon NASA Space Grant Program, can talk about what OSU and other Space Grant member institutions across the U.S. hope to research and learn from this total solar eclipse. He can also discuss the role of the NASA Space Grant in developing the next generation of scientists and engineers.  Contact: 541 737 2414 or jack.higginbotham@oregonstate.edu.

Jonathan Fram, an assistant professor in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, can talk about the effect a total solar eclipse has on the ocean and marine life. Contact: 541-737-0011 or jfram@coas.oregonstate.edu.

Todd Montgomery, executive-in-residence and instructor in business and hospitality management at OSU-Cascades, can talk about the eclipse from a tourism perspective. He can address pricing and staffing issues around one-time events, such as the eclipse, and logistics for staffing and operations. Contact: 541-322-2086 or todd.montgomery@osucascades.edu.

Randy Bell, associate dean and professor of science education in the OSU College of Education, is an expert in science education. He can talk about topics including the event’s role in inspiring children to take interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM,) life-long learning and community engagement around science and education. Contact: 541-737-6387 or randy.bell@oregonstate.edu.

Julia Bradshaw, assistant professor of photography and new media communications, is developing arts activities for eclipse weekend, including performance art, art workshops, storytelling for children and a poetry workshop for adults. She is also teaching photography workshops during the eclipse event on campus, including how to make a solar filter and how to photograph the sun safely and successfully. And she curated an exhibition at OSU’s Fairbanks Gallery. “Totality,” which shows how artists reflect humanity by responding to the Cosmos, runs from Aug. 15 to Sept. 28. Contact: 541-737-5014 or julia.bradshaw@oregonstate.edu.

Sergio Arispe, an OSU Extension Service livestock expert with animal & rangeland science, who is stationed in Malheur County, can talk about peculiar behavior of animals during an eclipse. Contact: 541-881-1417 X 104 or Sergio.arispe@oregonstate.edu.

Troy Downing, an OSU Extension Service dairy expert with animal & rangeland science, who is stationed in Tillamook County, can also talk about peculiar behavior of animals during an eclipse. Contact: 503-842-3433 or troy.downing@oregonstate.edu.

Steve Fitzgerald, an OSU Extension silviculture specialist, can talk about wildfire risks from having so many campers in a dry part of Oregon in the middle of the summer. Contact: 541-737-3561 or Stephen.fitzgerald@oregonstate.edu.

Charles Robinson is the organizer of SPARK, a year-long celebration at OSU showcasing intersections of arts and science. The OSU150 Space Grant Festival marks the culmination of the SPARK program. Charles can talk about the eclipse from the College of Liberal Arts perspective, including cultural and artistic interpretations of this this cosmic event. Contact: 541-737-6535 or Charles.robinson@oregonstate.edu.

Jill Peters, Eclipse Event Manager, has organized the three-day OSU150 Space Grant Festival: A Total Eclipse Experience, and can talk about the event goals, planning and activities. Contact: Jill.Peters@oregonstate.edu

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About Oregon State University:  As one of only two universities in the nation designated as a land, sea, space and sun grant, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 31,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis, Bend and Newport, and through our award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.