This Sunday night, the University of North Georgia will host a “Total Eclipse Watch Party” at the school’s observatory, allowing anyone to come and watch the lunar eclipse together.
According to Gregory Feiden, associate professor of astronomy and the director of the UNG observatory, the watch party will begin at the same time as the eclipse, at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday May 15.
“Starting at 9:30 we’ll be at the observatory set up outside and inside where people can come and set up a chair on the lawn or a blanket or whatever they wish,” Feiden said. “We’ll be hanging out pretty much all night watching the moon slowly creep into earth’s shadow and then by about 11:30 we’ll enter what we call totality which is when the moon starts to appear kind of a dark red or dark orange color… that will last until about 1 a.m., then by about 2 a.m. things will be wrapping up so we’ll be packing up and ready to go by then.”
According to Feiden, anyone from the community is welcome to come watch the eclipse anytime during that time span, either for the whole thing or just for part of it.
“It’s free of charge; people are welcome to come out without reservation or anything,” Feiden said. “They can just stop by anytime they get there between 9:30 p.m. and 2 a.m.”
Feiden said that there’s nothing in particular that event attendees need to bring with them, but that anyone planning on joining should wear clothes appropriate for being outdoors late at night. He also recommended bringing some sort of blanket or chair to relax on during the eclipse.
“If people have binoculars or a small telescope they want to bring they can, but they don’t have to,” Feiden said. “And usually if you’re standing outside just kind of craning your neck up, eventually your neck will start to hurt, so I recommend something like a chair or a blanket to kind of take the pressure off of your neck for awhile.”
He added that those interested in attending should check the weather on the day of the event, because if the weather is completely cloudy or raining the watch party will have to be canceled. Any updates on the event can be found at facebook.com/ungobservatory.
The UNG observatory is located at 3000 Dawsonville Highway in Dahlonega, a few miles southwest of the school’s Dahlonega campus.