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Arkansas Space Grant Consortium Helps Arkansans Experience Great North American Solar Eclipse

Constance Meadors
Constance Meadors

The Arkansas Space Grant Consortium, based at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has made it its mission to help tens of thousands of people experience the wonder of the Great North American Solar Eclipse on April 8.

With the solar eclipse’s path of totality covering 53 counties in Arkansas, Dr. Constance Meadors, interim director of the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium (ASGC), said the organization is doing everything possible to provide Arkansans with diverse viewing opportunities, educational and family activities, and free solar eclipse glasses to enjoy the day.

ASGC partners with 17 four-year universities and colleges across Arkansas, dedicated to advancing space science education, research, and public outreach. The ASGC is partnering with colleges and universities across the state, including UA Little Rock, who will be holding public events for the community to enjoy the solar eclipse.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we will be able to tell our grandchildren about, and it’s one of the greatest things that NASA will be involved in that people will get to see and experience,” Meadors said.

To help with the solar eclipse celebrations, ASGC provided grants of approximately $50,000 and donated around 30,000 pairs of solar eclipse glasses to six higher education institutions in Arkansas so that everyone will have a chance to experience the solar eclipse safely. Additionally, ASGC provided the Arkansas STEM Coalition with about 160,000 pairs of solar eclipse glasses to share with the public.

“I just want everyone within the state of Arkansas to find a place to join and participate in the solar eclipse,” Meadors said. “Don’t let the lack of glasses stop you. If they get to any of these locations, they should have access to free solar eclipse glasses.”

Some of the other solar eclipse activities that ASGC is participating in includes:

·  Sharing a tactile Braille book, “Getting a Feel for the Eclipse,” with Arkansans. The book provides people who are blind and visually impaired with a means to experience the total solar eclipse through their fingertips.

·  Training seven college students as NASA Partnered Eclipse Ambassadors who are conducting educational activities related to the solar eclipse throughout Arkansas.

·  Partnering with UAMS Pathways Academy to complete eclipse safety and education activities with Arkansas students.