Update: Aug. 17 — The Alumni Association, The Inn at Virginia Tech, and the Prices Fork parking lots will not require parking passes during the event.
The Virginia Tech Alumni Association is hosting a solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on the Holtzman Alumni Center Lawn.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun. On Aug. 21, everyone in North America will see the eclipse, and parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see the eclipse or a partial eclipse.
"We thought it would be a fun way to get local alumni, current students, and the rest of the Blacksburg community together for a memorable, low-key event," said Matt Winston, senior associate vice president for alumni relations. "We hope people will join us on the alumni center lawn and take in what's sure to be a memorable sight."
In Blacksburg, the skies will darken (though it won't be pitch black) as about 90 percent of the sun is covered.
The Alumni Association's watch party is free and open to the public, and pizza will be served. People are also encouraged to bring lunch. The association will also provide eclipse safety glasses.
It is unsafe to look directly at the sun. Eclipse glasses with special-purpose solar filters allow viewers to gaze at an uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun safely.
The last total solar eclipse in contiguous United States was in 1979, and the next opportunity to see a total solar eclipse in the United States will be in 2024.