Solar eclipse viewing event on MSU Drill Field offers fun, education for rare celestial occurrence

A picture of a Bulldog wearing solar eclipse glasses
MSU’s Bulldog mascot, Dak, demonstrates proper solar eclipse protective eyewear. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

A graphic promoting MSU's solar eclipse viewing event on April 8STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University will host a solar eclipse viewing event on April 8, giving the MSU community a chance to view a once-in-a-generation event.

Free and open to the public on the MSU Drill Field, proper eyewear will be available at no cost on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at noon. Maximum eclipse, which in Starkville will be approximately 90% coverage, occurs at 1:56 p.m., though the eclipse will be visible between 12:37–3:15 p.m. The next solar eclipse that may be seen from North America will occur in 2045.

In case of rain or heavy cloud coverage, demonstrations and a live watch feed will be available in the theater of the Bost building. Follow MSU College of Arts and Sciences social media for updates—on X @MSUArtsSciences, on Instagram @msuartssciences, and on Facebook @MSU College of Arts and Sciences. Look for the hashtag #hailstateeclipse.

“This is a once in a generation event, so come to the Drill Field to see it with your fellow Bulldogs,” said Angelle Tanner, an MSU associate professor of astrophysics who is helping coordinate the viewing event.

“Wearing proper eyewear is of the utmost importance,” Tanner said. “Do not look at the sun at any time during the eclipse without eclipse glasses. NO EXCEPTIONS.” 

 Scientists warn that the human eye can be severely damaged by looking at the sun during an eclipse. Sunglasses alone do not provide the necessary protection and old eclipse glasses from previous events could be scratched or compromised, leading to eye damage.

In preparation for the event, Donna Pierce, an MSU associate professor of astrophysics, will lead a public lecture on the scientific uniqueness of solar eclipses, what scientists are able to learn during an event of this nature, and what the public can expect during the 2024 eclipse.

The free presentation will be held April 3 in Old Main Academic Center, Room 1205 from 5-7 p.m. MSU physics instructor Bob Swanson—who has created a list of short YouTube videos that help explain how an eclipse works—will provide entertainment. Visit 4-H Eclipse Activities - YouTube for more on Swanson’s videos.

The eclipse event on the Drill Field is sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of Research and Economic Development. 

For more details about MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences or the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit or

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