Total Solar Eclipse comes to Orangeburg, August 21, 2017


The Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) Experiment is a national team of students, citizen scientists and professional astronomers who will operate 70 or more sites across the country from Oregon to South Carolina during the total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017. As of April 1, 2017, there are 70 national sites including 7 in South Carolina. Each site will have identical equipment so that the data collected can be combined in a straightforward manner into one, large database.

The solar corona is the faint outer portion of the sun’s atmosphere, and only during a total eclipse can portions of it be studied in great detail. During the August 21, 2017, eclipse, all sites will experience less than three minutes of totality. By combing the sequential observations from all national sites along the path, more than 90 minutes of totality will be recorded. This continuous, temporal coverage during totality will allow solar astronomers to study the dynamics of the inner portion of the solar corona in unprecedented detail. The resulting film will find widespread use during education and public outreach (EPO) events for years to come.

Previously SC State joined four other CATE teams who traveled to Indonesia for the March 9, 2016, total eclipse in order to test the equipment. The lessons learned from that experience will be applied to the 2017 eclipse with an anticipated high level of success.

The South Carolina CATE team is coordinated by South Carolina State University and includes partners at Clemson University, Lander University, Coker College, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and South Carolina State University as well as two citizen-scientist sites.

Additional information on CATE can be found on the Links page of this site and at