About 100 students watch sun at Sunwatcher

A phase of the solar eclipse projected through a telescope onto an envelope in the Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart

About 100 students, faculty and staff packed Sunwatcher Plaza at 11:30 a.m. while anxiously waiting for the solar eclipse to appear, hosted by the physics program, on Aug. 21. The eclipse peaked at approximately 1:04 p.m. at roughly 80 percent totality.

Preet Sharma, professor of physics, said eclipses happen often but are not normally as extreme as this one.

“An eclipse happens every year but they aren’t as profound as we are seeing today,” Sharma said. “We should see about 80 percent of the sun’s surface covered.”

Mechanical engineering and physics senior Michael Olaya said observing an eclipse is a way for the scientific community to gain more knowledge and gather research.

“The eclipse is a way to connect humans with the cosmos, which is an amazing thing. For thousands of years, we’ve observed them and they’ve been really useful with science,” Olaya said. “In the early 19th century, they used the results from observing an eclipse to prove Einstein’s theory of general relativity. So not only are they a really awesome experience, but they are also really awesome for science and for research.”

The physics program had 80 ISO 12312-2 certified viewing glasses available for people to safely view the eclipse, along with a small telescope outfitted with a solar filter. Attendees waited in line for the telescope and passed around the viewing glasses to each person.

“I’m 21 years old, and I’ve never seen an eclipse before, so I came to see it today,” Lashanda Turenne, nursing senior, said. “This is really cool.”

Cole Alsup, mechanical engineering sophomore, said he came because this is a rare opportunity.

While looking at the sun with his colorful glasses, Alsup said, “I came here because I thought it would be a fun experience and it only happens every once in a hundred years or so.”

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Matt Park said he was impressed with the event.

“The turnout is wonderful. There’s a lot of people interested in this celestial opportunity that I guess happens every once in a hundred years or so. There are actually quite a few students here as well,” Park said. “I’ve never seen one of these to this magnitude before, so it’s definitely interesting and intriguing. It lived up to my expectations.”

The next solar eclipse will be April 8, 2024.

Solar Eclipse watch party 2017

Dean Margaret Brown Marsden shows the eclipse as transmitted through a telescope at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Dean Margaret Brown Marsden shows the eclipse as transmitted through a telescope at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
The eclipse as seen through some hands at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
The eclipse as seen through some hands at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Chris Hansen, associate professor of chemistry, at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Chris Hansen, associate professor of chemistry, at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
At 12:25 p.m. Amy Chase looks at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
At 12:25 p.m. Amy Chase looks at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Nate Blank, a stock room manager in the chemistry department, looks through a telescope with a neutral density filter at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Nate Blank, a stock room manager in the chemistry department, looks through a telescope with a neutral density filter at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Walter Lambert, business analyst at the Small Business Development Center, watches the eclipse at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Walter Lambert, business analyst at the Small Business Development Center, watches the eclipse at the solar eclipse watch party Aug. 21, 2017 on Sunwatcher Plaza at Midwestern State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Sandra Shawver, assistant professor of kinesiology, watches the solar eclipse with a welding helmet on in the Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21.Photo by Justin Marquart
Sandra Shawver, assistant professor of kinesiology, watches the solar eclipse with a welding helmet on in the Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21.Photo by Justin Marquart
Kaytlyn Boyett, art senior, holds up a plate with a pin hole to see the eclipse in the shadow on the ground in Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
Kaytlyn Boyett, art senior, holds up a plate with a pin hole to see the eclipse in the shadow on the ground in Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
Ian Klein, reporter for channel six news, interviews Dr. Suzanne Shipley, university president, at Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
Ian Klein, reporter for channel six news, interviews Dr. Suzanne Shipley, university president, at Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
A phase of the solar eclipse projected through a telescope onto an envelope in the Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
A phase of the solar eclipse projected through a telescope onto an envelope in the Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
Eric Arumugam, campus visitor, loks up at the sun during the solar eclipse at Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
Eric Arumugam, campus visitor, loks up at the sun during the solar eclipse at Sunwatcher Plaza on Aug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
Kara McIntyre, mass communication senior, looks up at the sun during the solar eclipse at Sunwatcher Plaza onAug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
Kara McIntyre, mass communication senior, looks up at the sun during the solar eclipse at Sunwatcher Plaza onAug. 21. Photo by Justin Marquart
Crowd at the solar eclipse watch party on Aug. 21. Photo by Kara McIntyre
Crowd at the solar eclipse watch party on Aug. 21. Photo by Kara McIntyre

RESOURCES

More information from NASA

Eclipse misconceptions

The eclipse of 2024 — Dallas in totality path