UNC-Chapel Hill experts available to discuss upcoming total solar eclipse

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UNC-Chapel Hill experts available to discuss upcoming total solar eclipse

As the country looks forward to the rare total solar eclipse on August 21, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers and staff are prepared to offer insight into all aspects of the eclipse from events happening across the state, what scientists can learn from an eclipse and how to view an eclipse without damaging your eyes.


If you would like to schedule an interview with one of our experts, contact our media relations team at mediarelations@unc.edu or call our media line at (919) 445-8555.


For a complete list of activities associated with the eclipse, please visit moreheadplanetarium.org/Eclipse




Astronomy and Astrophysics

Dr. Chris Clemens is an astrophysicist who studies white dwarf stars and other phenomena. He is currently senior associate dean for natural sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences and a former chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Before he joined UNC, Clemens built SOAR’s Goodman Spectrograph, which is utilized during nearly 80 percent of SOAR (Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope) research. Clemens also studies the sun extensively, researching what could happen when it is no longer a star.

Dr. Clemens can speak about the physics and technical aspects of the eclipse – especially the path of the eclipse, frequency of eclipses similar phenomena and exact timing.

Recent Media Coverage:

WRAL – UNC Student astronomers use remote technology to touch the stars






Carolinas Star Party and Morehead Planetarium

As part of the 2017 Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will hold an onsite eclipse viewing event for the public on Monday, August 21, 2017.

Mickey Jo Sorrell and Amy Sayle are science educators at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. Their responsibilities include educating visitors to the Planetarium, including school groups, about astronomy. Sorrell and Sayle coordinated the Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party.

Sorrell and Sayle can share tips and tricks for people interested in viewing the eclipse, and speak about the Carolinas Solar Eclipse viewing parties.

Recent Media Coverage:

WRAL: Excitement building for Aug. 21 solar eclipse

News and ObserverStatewide Star Party Helps light up NC Science Festival

Teen Science Café A Woman of Many Hats—Spotlight on Mickey Jo Sorrell  





Dr. Donald Budenz graduated magna cum laud and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania and received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Budenz is available to discuss the importance of wearing eclipse glasses and the damaging effect staring at the sun has on the eye.











 About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 318,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 157 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.



About Morehead Planetarium and Science Center:


Opened in 1949, Morehead was the first planetarium in the South, the first on the campus of a major research university and the sixth in the nation. Morehead provided training for America’s astronauts during the Space Race, counts 11 moonwalkers among its “alumni” and has hosted more than eight million visitors. In 2002, Morehead added “Science Center” to its name to more fully reflect its mission. Since then, through its outreach programming, it has tripled the number of children and families served and nearly tripled revenues and support. Founded in 2010, the North Carolina Science Festival is Morehead’s largest outreach program, having served 1.8 million people of all ages since its inception.


Communications and Public Affairs contact: Kate Luck, (919) 445-8360, kate.luck@unc.edu


Morehead Planetarium contact: Molly Molpus, (919) 843-7952, molly.molpus@unc.edu