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November 7, 2013

ODU Contingent Helps Bring Eclipse into View

feature1-lgGraduate teaching assistant Filis McGuirk watches a projected image of the eclipse. Photo by Declan De Paor
By Jim Raper

A group of Old Dominion faculty and students took Pretlow Planetarium telescopes on the road Sunday morning to help about two dozen early risers at the Virginia Beach oceanfront see the partial solar eclipse visible in the mid-Atlantic region.

ODU astronomy graduate teaching assistant Filis McGuirk, graduate research assistant Mladen Dordevic, undergraduate teaching fellow Josh Frechem and geophysics professor Declan De Paor set up solar-filtered telescopes at the King Neptune statue on 31st Street so that passers-by and ODU students could take a close and safe look at the moon blocking a portion of the rising sun.

This eclipse was a rare hybrid variety that started off the East Coast of the United States as an annular eclipse, in which the sun is partially visible, before becoming a total solar eclipse in Africa.

"By the time of sunrise at Virginia Beach, the eclipse was past peak but nevertheless the bite out of the sun's lower half was very easy to see with the projecting scopes," said De Paor, who is the director of ODU's Pretlow Planetarium.