UO campus will remain open Aug. 21 during total solar eclipse

Eclipse glasses

The sun will turn off for a few minutes on Aug. 21, but classes and business at the University of Oregon are definitely on.

Most of Oregon is aware of the total solar eclipse that will happen Aug. 21, when the moon will move across the face of the sun between 9:04 a.m. and 11:37 a.m. and completely block it for a few minutes starting at 10:17 a.m. Eugene is just south of the path of totality that will experience a true total eclipse; the UO campus will see a 98 to 99 percent eclipse.

Here are some tips and information for those who will be on campus:

First, UO classes, offices and events will stick to normal schedule that day. Recognizing the significance of the event, the Office of Human Resources is encouraging supervisors to be as flexible as possible with employees at work so they may view the eclipse as it is taking place. Oregon State University in Corvallis, which is in the eclipse path of totality, has canceled classes and closed offices and will host eclipse-related events.

Second, thousands of visitors from all over are flocking to Oregon for this rare event — the last coast-to-coast total solar eclipse was in 1918 and the last eclipse in this area was in 1979. Nearly every hotel room in the eclipse path is booked, which is expected to contribute to heavy — and possibly distracted — traffic on Interstate 5 and other highways throughout the morning.

Those who use I-5 to get to work should make allowances for extra travel time and notify their supervisors if they won’t be on their normal schedule. If UO employees want to take time away from the job to view the eclipse, they’ll need to use the relevant time and leave process for their job classification and department guidelines.

Third, staring for even a short time at the intense light around the eclipse can cause serious, permanent vision damage. Only specialized glasses should be used to view the show. Look for glasses rated to the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Local stores have been selling out of these special glasses quickly, so don’t wait to get a pair. 

And finally, for those who want to experience the historic celestial event with colleagues, the Erb Memorial Union will host a watch party on its east lawn from 9 to 11:30 a.m., providing refreshments and a limited number of eclipse glasses for safe viewing.

Related: UO scientists shed light on eclipse