UNL STEM Expo, Saltdogs game attracts thousands of visitors

UNL STEM Expo coincides with solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.
UNL STEM Expo coincides with solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.

More than 5,000 people attended the Lincoln Saltdogs' "Eclipse-delayed" game on August 21 and thousands stopped by UNL’s Science and Engineering Expo Fair outside the gates of Haymarket Park. Thank you to the UNL units that participated:

College of Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Aerospace Club
Civil Engineering
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
College of Architecture
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Antarctic Time Machine
Society of Physics Students
Physics and Astronomy
Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience
Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education

From Omaha.com:

The Lincoln Saltdogs played under the stadium lights as totality approached in Lincoln, but many eclipse fans wanted to boo the thickening clouds. Through dark lenses of protective glasses, the partially eclipsed sun was nearly impossible to see.

Then, a few minutes before the 1:02 p.m. moment of totality, the clouds thinned, shadows appeared on the ground and anticipation heightened. Near a big telescope set up by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln physics and astronomy department, necks craned skyward and a cheers swelled as the sun fell dark.

“That’s pretty spectacular,” said Brad Shadwick, associate professor of physics and astronomy at UNL.

UNL physics graduate student Karl Ahrendsen – wearing slacks, a dress shirt and a bow tie – had spent the last year helping the department produce online videos for the eclipse. While the minute of totality passed quickly, he said it was a minute well worth the hype and preparation.

“It was great, no regrets,” he said.

Marciana Gillispie of Omaha brought her children, ages 7, 6, and 3, to Haymarket Park because of the science activities. Not even the 35 mph drive from Omaha detracted from the excitement of a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

“Definitely,” she said. “Totally worth it.”