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May 5 MTSU Star Party links solar eclipses to ‘Fun...

May 5 MTSU Star Party links solar eclipses to ‘Funky Fizix in Film’ theme

MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy professor Eric Klumpe finishes the spring semester series of “First Friday Star Parties” with “Funky Fizix in Film” starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 5, in Wiser-Patten Science Hall Room 102.

Taken in 2008, this file photo shows a total solar eclipse. An event, “The Great American Eclipse at MTSU,” takes place Aug. 21 on campus. (File photo by Miloslav Druckmuller, Peter Aniol and Vojtech Rusin)

Taken in 2008 in southwestern Mongolia, this photo shows a total solar eclipse. The bright object in the left part of the image is Mercury; experts have identified at least 456 stars in the original full-resolution image, which you can see by clicking the photo above. A special event marking the 2017 total solar eclipse, “The Great American Eclipse at MTSU,” takes place Aug. 21 on campus. (Photo courtesy of Miloslav Druckmuller, Peter Aniol and Vojtech Rusin)

Weather permitting, a telescope viewing will follow the 45- to 60-minute lecture. The star parties are free and open to the public. To find Wiser-Patten Science Hall and nearby parking, visit

First Friday Star Parties are a way for the department to bring the campus, Murfreesboro and surrounding communities together as faculty share information about planets, the sun and moon, and other celestial objects and phenomena.

Klumpe has followed the “Funky Fizix in Film” theme for the past four to five years, where he explores how “physics” and astronomy is used in the plot of some films.

“What changes is which films I review,” he said. “The spring 2017 installment will be about movies with solar eclipses, how the eclipses tie into the plot of the film and whether or not the portrayal of the eclipse is scientifically accurate or not.”

Dr. Eric Klumpe

Dr. Eric Klumpe

Klumpe said the tie-in with solar eclipses will point toward the Aug. 21 “Great Tennessee Eclipse at MTSU” event.

“It will be a solar eclipse party that MTSU will be participating in,” Klumpe said. “We want as many people as possible to be aware of this event so they do not have any regrets about not making plans to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

You can learn more about the eclipse event here.

Nashville and parts of Middle Tennessee will be in the direct path of the eclipse, which is expected to begin around noon CDT Aug. 21 and reach totality around 1:28 p.m. CDT, lasting nearly two minutes. It is the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States in 38 years.

For more information about star parties or the Department of Physics and Astronomy, call 615-898-2130 or visit and

The department is one of 11 in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

— Randy Weiler (