Lyon College Convocation speaker to present “Total Solar Eclipse: We Enter the Shadow of the Moon”

BATESVILLE, Arkansas –In anticipation of the Great American Eclipse, the Lyon College Convocation speaker series will feature a presentation by physicist William S. Higgins titled “Total Solar Eclipse: We Enter the Shadow of the Moon” on Sunday, April 7, at 4 p.m. in the Bevens Music Room of the Brown Chapel and Fine Arts Building on the Lyon College campus at 2300 Highland Rd., Batesville.

The free event is open to the public.

Higgins is a physicist who speaks about astronomy, spaceflight, physics, and the history of science and technology. Since 1978, he has worked at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, most recently as a radiation safety physicist working on protection against radiological hazards. As a spare-time science communicator, he has given hundreds of talks, often volunteering for NASA. He has been an eyewitness to spacecraft encounters with Neptune, Pluto and the icy asteroid Arrokoth.

“Everyone in Batesville is about to be plunged into midday darkness in a total solar eclipse. We share this rare experience with countless humans in the past who have found themselves carried, for a few moments, beneath the shadow of the moon,” said Higgins.

Participants in this seminar will learn how solar eclipses occur and some of the historical lore surrounding them.

“A solar eclipse also offers an opportunity for scientific observations not possible during normal times,” Higgins said. “Learn what to expect during the eclipse of Monday, April 8, and what to look for during the four minutes we will be granted within the moon’s shadow.”

On Monday, April 8, Lyon College extends an invitation to the public to take a front-row seat for a Great American Eclipse viewing event, Scots in the Dark, at Couch Garden on the Lyon College campus.

Lyon College has planned a full day of activities and entertainment for eclipse enthusiasts of all ages. From educational exhibits and rocket launches to a smartphone photography workshop and live music, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lyon College will host free activities in the family zone, including rocket-assembly and eye-safety workshops by W.D. Bryan Professor of Biology and NASA Solar System Ambassador Dr. Dave Thomas, cyanotype demonstrations, archaeoastronomy and astrophotography exhibits, introduction to celestial mechanics for beginners and a kids’ zone with eclipse-related educational activities.

At 12:20 p.m. there will be a free smartphone eclipse photo workshop in the Dr. Mark Schram Memorial Outdoor Classroom taught by Lyon College senior Blayne Griffin. Participants will learn how to take photos safely with their smartphones.

From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Lyon College will host an entertainment zone with food, beverages and music. Tickets for the entertainment zone are $25 and include come-and-go access, food, beverages and seating. Tickets are available for purchase at

The Great American Eclipse is scheduled to begin around 12:36 p.m. CDT.

Batesville is set to experience totality at 1:53 p.m. CDT, offering a prime viewing location for the event.

Totality is scheduled to end at approximately 1:57 p.m. CDT, and the eclipse will end at 3:13 p.m. CDT.

Rockets created earlier in the day will be launched at the conclusion of totality.

For more information, visit



About Lyon College

Lyon College, a private, liberal arts institution founded in 1872, is the oldest college in the state with its original charter. Ranked by US News & World Report as a 2023 “Best College,” Lyon currently enrolls almost 600 students from 26 states and seven countries. Students can tailor their education, selecting from 24 majors as well as select graduate, pre-professional and individualized options. Learn more at


Photo: William S. Higgins