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With a solar eclipse headed our way Newberry really IS the center of the universe

July 19, 2017

Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017 The Center of the Universe Meets the Path of Totality

Newberry, South Carolina is directly on the path to witness the natural event of a lifetime when a total solar eclipse crosses directly over Newberry on Monday, August 21, 2017.  


What’s the big deal about this eclipse? 

A total solar eclipse is extremely rare. It happens when the sun, moon and Earth are perfectly aligned so that the moon blocks the sun’s light on part of Earth’s surface. It’s been nearly 40 years since a total eclipse was seen in the U.S., and 117 years since a total eclipse was visible in Newberry.


What should I expect when the eclipse happens?

On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be viewable across a 70-mile-wide path that will cross 14 states in the U.S., from Oregon to South Carolina. At approximately 2:40 p.m., Newberry will find itself in total darkness for two minutes and 32 seconds. Click here for solar eclipse basics from NASA, interactive maps, interviews, educational activities, videos and much more.


Where can I view the eclipse?

The City of Newberry will host EclipseFest from August 18 – 21, featuring speakers and films, demonstrations and displays, music, food and drink. Newberry College’s Setzler Field is one of four NASA-endorsed viewing sites where you can watch the eclipse on August 21 in addition to the city’s official EclipseFest Watch Party in downtown Newberry. Shuttles will run from downtown to all four viewing sites throughout the four-day festival. Click here for a detailed calendar of EclipseFest events and other local eclipse information.


How do I safely view the eclipse?

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe and can cause permanent damage to your eyes. Ordinary sunglasses are not safe for looking at the sun! The only safe way to view the eclipse is with eclipse glasses or #14 or darker welder’s glass. Newberry College will provide free eclipse glasses for all students, faculty and staff. The City of Newberry also will have eclipse glasses available. Click here for detailed eclipse viewing safety tips.


How wil EclipseFest activities impact the campus during this time?

We have been told to expect as many as 350,000 visitors to Newberry County alone and upwards of one million along the eclipse path throughout South Carolina. We urge you to please plan accordingly if you will be visiting Newberry College or the City of Newberry during this timeframe.

  • Traffic: We expect a significant increase in automobile and foot traffic throughout EclipseFest, particularly as some roads near downtown will be closed to traffic throughout the event. You also should expect freeway delays throughout much of the state. Allow plenty of extra time to arrive at your campus destination.
  • Parking: We plan to reserve the parking lot at Brokaw Hall and the adjacent science building to accommodate freshman move-in on Aug. 17; however, because Newberry College is an EclipseFest shuttle stop, we anticipate heavy demand by the public on all parking lots throughout EclipseFest on Aug. 18-21.  
  • Lodging: The eclipse is attracting visitors to South Carolina from all over the world. Our local hotels are already booked to capacity. If you are planning an overnight visit to Newberry during EclipseFest, you may wish to seek alternative lodging options with local families through
  • Personal Safety: Although we are blessed with a very safe campus, the heavy influx of visitors to the area can lead to crimes of opportunity. During this time, please be vigilant about locking car and office doors and securing personal property that could be tempting to would-be thieves. Likewise, be aware of your surroundings at all times and move about campus in groups whenever possible.


How can I volunteer at EclipseFest or help in other ways?

Volunteer: The City of Newberry is seeking EclipseFest volunteers to help with kid-friendly interactive activities, to staff information booths and merchandise tables and to serve as “runners.” To sign up to volunteer, contact or call 803.321.5501.

Donate Supplies: EclipseFest needs the following recyclable items that kids will use for space-themed activities: plastic bottles, Styrofoam, toilet paper rolls, towel rolls, cereal boxes, plastic egg crates, shiny gift bags, bottle caps/tops, empty Keurig cups, rubber bands and aluminum foil. Bring all donations (clean and dry please!) to Michael Smith in Derrick Hall, Room 9.


We’re looking forward to kicking off an exciting new academic year! If you have any questions about eclipse-related planning, please feel free to contact Michael A. Smith, Director of Student Engagement & Greek Life at or call 803.321.5501.

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