Solar eclipse at K-State: what you need to know


The solar eclipse is today, and Kansas State students, staff and faculty, as well as members of the Manhattan community, are ready for the rare event.

According to Time and Date, the eclipse will start in Manhattan at about 11:37 a.m., when the moon will first begin to cover the sun. The moon will eventually reach maximum coverage of the sun at about 1:04 p.m. and complete its passage over the sun by about 2:32 p.m.

Since Manhattan is not in the path of totality, viewers in Manhattan will only be able to view a partial eclipse. However, the magnitude of the eclipse, which is the decimal fraction of the sun’s diameter covered by the moon, will be .98, meaning that over 98 percent of the sun will be eclipsed.

As previously reported by the Collegian, K-State will temporarily suspend its attendance policy on the first day of classes, allowing students and faculty members the opportunity to miss class without repercussion. That means students can miss class without fear of being dropped or penalized in financial aid.

Although students are excused from classes for the solar eclipse, some professors have decided to have class anyway. Jackson McKain, senior in secondary education, said he would be going to his class at 1:30 p.m.

“I didn’t really have any other plans anyway, and since the professor knows me, I thought I should be there,” McKain said.

Daniel Kuester, professor of economics, was originally planning on having class.

“I suppose that I wanted to follow the protocol established by the University,” Kuester said. “I would not have been upset had the university canceled classes on Monday, but since we did not, I did not feel comfortable taking it upon myself to cancel class.”

However, after being contacted by the Collegian, Kuester reached out to other professors and said he realized he was one of few professors still having class. Kuester subsequently cancelled his classes on Monday, opting to assign book readings in lieu of class.

Where to watch

It’s too late to buy tickets, but Kansas State University and the Flint Hills Discovery Center will be busing K-Staters and Manhattan-area residents to Highland Community College, which will be in the path of totality. Participants will leave Manhattan by bus at 8 a.m., and the event at Highland Community College will include food vendors, a beer garden, live music and walking tours, according to the trip’s website.

The K-State Alumni Association will also be hosting an eclipse watch party at East Hills Mall in St. Joseph, MO, starting at 8 a.m. More information is available at the association’s Facebook page.

Students who are unable to miss class or have other reasons to stay in town will also have the ability to join a campus watch party, hosted by the Union Program Council, in Bosco Plaza at 11 a.m. The event will feature live music, free cookies from Insomnia Cookies, giveaways and free eclipse goggles.

Where to get glasses

Several area stores have run out of specialized eclipse viewing glasses, but the university will provide glasses to students on a first-come, first-serve basis at the following locations:

  • All residence hall front desks.
  • Hale Library Info Oasis Booth, outside the west end of Hale Library, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Welcome Desk at the Center for Student Involvement, 114 K-State Student Union, 8 a.m. to noon.
  • UPC Eclipse Viewing Party, Bosco Student Plaza, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Effects of the eclipse

In a K-State News article, Chris Sorensen, professor of physics, said some natural effects of the eclipse will include the wind dying down, animals moving as if it were night, roosters crowing and other strange daytime behavior.

Sorensen said it is important to use correct protective eye equipment to look at the eclipse, as the sun’s rays are still damaging even during an eclipse. Items such as regular sunglasses or other non-certified opaque materials are not enough to protect users’ eyes.

“They may stop the visible light from the sun, but the ultraviolet and infrared light from the sun still comes through and those lights can burn your retina,” he said in the release. “Your retina, although sensitive to light, is not sensitive to pain. Your eyeballs could be burning and you wouldn’t even know it.”

According to the American Astronomical Society, eclipse viewers should use eclipse glasses that come from reliable manufacturers and display the ISO 12312-2 certification. This certification cannot be tested by consumers, and disreputable vendors may attempt to falsely claim compliance with the standard, so it is important to use glasses that come from reliable manufacturers, such as ones on the AAS’s reputable vendor page.

I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at