Solar eclipse: Dixie State offers viewing, tour of parks, credit hour

Composite image | Map courtesy of, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Great American Eclipse will be the focus of a Dixie State University science trip in August.

Map of eclipse path courtesy of NASA, St. George News

Touted by NASA as one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights, the Aug. 21 solar eclipse will be visible to everyone in North America.

In Southern Utah and much of the country, viewers will only see a partial eclipse. However, parts of several states including Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming will see a total solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse hasn’t been visible from the continental U.S. since 1979.

A planned Dixie State tour to view the eclipse is being offered as a one-credit physical science lab.

All of the coursework will take place during a four-day trip that includes stops at Yellowstone National Park, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve and six types of power plants and dams across Utah.

The trip is set for Aug. 18-21 and will culminate in watching the total solar eclipse near Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The Great American Solar Eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Dr. Samuel Tobler, Dixie State assistant professor of physics and astronomy, said. “Allow DSU to help you experience this event.”

The full eclipse, during which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and completely blocks the sun, will be visible only in the path of totality – an approximately 70-mile wide band.

Idaho Falls is located within this band and the fully eclipsed sun will be visible from 11:33 a.m. to 11:34 a.m. Aug. 21.

Details and deadline

The trip will be led by Tobler and Dixie State geology instructor Janice Hayden, who will offer instruction throughout the entire trip including lessons on the geologic structures on Earth and the moon. Participants will also learn about the Earth’s internal and external energy and how it relates to the production of electricity.

To participate, travelers will need to apply to Dixie State University, register, and pay for the course “ENVS 2000R (CRN 32148): Field Experience” by June 26.

In addition to tuition, a $400 lab fee is required. The fee covers the costs of double-occupancy lodging, food, transportation and entry fees to the parks.

Utah residents who are 62 and older can audit Dixie State University classes, including ENVS 2000R, for $10 per class through a state program. Program participants still need to pay a $400 lab fee and apply to enroll at Dixie State University at

“You will not be able to find a cheaper way to watch the eclipse that also includes everything this course offers,” Tobler said.

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