Every now and then, the skies light up after a State College Spikes game, but with Happy Valley in a path of 95% totality for the solar eclipse that will darken the skies on Monday, April 8, the Spikes will team up with the Penn State Eberly College of Science to educate and celebrate at SolarFest at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Admission will be free for SolarFest, with ballpark gates opening at noon for fans of all ages. Fans attending SolarFest will receive a pair of eclipse glasses from the Penn State Eberly College of Science through the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium with which to view the movement of the moon into the sun’s path. The partial eclipse will begin to be seen in Happy Valley at 2:04 p.m., reach its maximum eclipse at 3:20 p.m., and end at 4:32 p.m.
Eric Feigelson, Distinguished Senior Scholar and professor of astronomy and astrophysics, will make a special presentation at SolarFest and serve as emcee while the eclipse takes place, describing the science behind this majestic phenomenon.
“Bringing science into our communities is a key mission for the college and our department,” said Randy McEntaffer, department head and professor of astronomy and astrophysics. “As in years past, we’re so excited to experience this phenomenon alongside our fellow community members and share the science behind it.”
McEntaffer along with Associate Research Professor James Tutt and other instructors from the Penn State Rockets for Inclusive Science Education outreach program will join students from the organization Penn State Students for the Exploration and Development of Space in leading multiple rocket launches at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for SolarFest on April 8. Faculty from the Eberly college’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and students from the SEDS organization have led other rocket launches at select Spikes home games over the past two years.
SolarFest is to set to feature a wide variety of interactive science-themed displays, including activities presented by the Eberly College of Science’s Office of Science Outreach, for attendees of all ages across the ballpark, along with the deployment of the brand-new, 2,739-square-foot video board at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to be part of the fun as it displays NASA’s live stream of the eclipse in eye-popping high definition throughout the day.
The full slate of ballpark concessions will be available throughout SolarFest, along with Kids Zone games.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming fans from across Happy Valley to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to SolarFest for what promises to be an astronomical event on April 8,” said Spikes President & General Manager Scott Walker. “We invite everyone to join us and the Eberly College of Science to witness this spectacular solar eclipse and reach a better understanding of how, together, we can reach for the stars.”
A full schedule of SolarFest activities will be announced as the eclipse draws nearer. To get more event information and learn about the solar eclipse phenomenon, visit solareclipse.science.psu.edu.