AU Press Releases

Professor David Toot Invites AU Alumni to Join Solar Eclipse Trip

Alfred University alumni who would enjoy the opportunity to witness first-hand the total solar eclipse of 2017 are invited to hitch a ride with Professor of Physics David Toot on Aug. 19.

Toot will teach a Special Topics astronomy class on eclipses in the Fall semester and has organized a pre-semester trip that will rendezvous with the path of the eclipse, as the shadow of the moon passes across the southern United States.

He estimates the class will number about 20 students. A charter bus leaving the Alfred University campus on Aug. 19 has a seating capacity of 48, and Toot says he would welcome filling the extra seats with enthusiastic alumni eager to witness this  wonder of nature.

Toot has estimated the cost of the trip is approximately $500 per student. The more bus seats he can fill, the lower the cost.

Passengers will stay at Camp Moval, located near Union, Mo., where Toot hopes the skies will clear the afternoon of Aug. 21. The camp offers rustic cabins with a variety of

Sleeping arrangements, and camp/style meals (“It is a camp,” Toot advises). For alumni who would prefer less rustic accommodations there are small towns nearby with motels; however, transportation between those destinations and Camp Moval would have to be arranged and may involve extra expense.

Toot says he plans to conduct astronomy classes on the charter bus as it negotiates the 900 mile journey from Alfred to Union, Mo. The following day, Aug. 20, students and guests will practice for their viewing of the eclipse, learning to set up and operate computers and observation equipment. The eclipse begins in the afternoon of Aug. 21, and the class returns to Alfred on Aug. 22.

At this point, Toot is in the process of contacting alumni who may be interested in the adventure. Anyone interested in learning more about the trip – some details are still being refined – should contact Toot through his email:

Camp Moval is a ministry of The United Church of Christ. There are no church-related activities scheduled for the Aug. 20-22 period. For a glimpse of accommodations, visit