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Dixie State University


Physical Science Department offers Great American Eclipse trip

Touted by NASA as one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights, the Great American Eclipse will be the focal point of a Dixie State University science trip this summer.

Offered as a one-credit physical science lab, the entirety of the coursework will take place during a four-day trip that includes stops at Yellowstone National Park, Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve and six types of power plants and dams across Utah. The trip, which will take place Aug. 18-21, 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.”

While a partial eclipse will be visible everywhere in North America on Aug. 21, 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. The path is an approximately 70-mile wide band that covers the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. Idaho Falls is located within this band and will see the fully eclipsed sun from 11:33 to 11:34 a.m. that day. A total solar eclipse hasn’t been visible from the continental U.S. since 1979.

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 moon. Additionally, participants will learn about the Earth’s internal and external energy and how it relates to society’s choice to harness energy to produce electricity.

To participate, travelers will need to apply to Dixie State University and 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 the state’s House Bill 60 program. Program participants still need to pay the $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.

The trip is part of Dixie State University’s commitment to providing students and community members hands-on, individualized learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom in support of the institution’s motto, “active learning. active life.” As part of its educational philosophy, Dixie State prepares students for rewarding careers and enriched lives. Learn more at