By Christina Kroeger, Staff Writer
On Monday the moon did something remarkable. The moon crossed paths with the sun and blocked the earth’s sunlight. When this phenomenon occurs, it is called a solar eclipse.
A solar eclipse can only occur when the moon is a new moon. The sun is much bigger than the moon. The moon, however is much closer to the Earth than the sun.
This difference makes the moon appear to be approximately the same angular size as the sun. This fact makes it possible for the moon to block the sun in its entirety.
This was the first total eclipse to only touch American soil since the US gained its independence in 1776. This year, the eclipse centerline passed through twelve states from Oregon to South Carolina, so if you were in that proximity, you would experience the total eclipse. However, anyone in the U.S. experienced at least a partial eclipse.
Totality in Wingate was set to occur at 2:42 pm. During that time Wingate had a watch party in the Quad in which the university provided solar eclipse glasses to students.
Leah, a senior, said, “ Looking through the eclipse glasses was surreal to see as the shadow of the moon moved across the sun, creating an actual eclipse. Also the shadows on the ground was cool, but getting to spend that once in a lifetime moment with friends made it even more memorable.”
The science professors volunteered to set up telescope viewing stations on the Quad so people could get a closer view of the remarkable event. “It was really amazing to see the campus get together to watch this once in a lifetime event. However, it wasn’t everything that I was hoping for on campus.” said Kelton Stone, a senior.
Another student, Sydney Taylor, a junior, said, “ The whole aura outside felt weird. It was dim outside but not totally dark. It felt like I was wearing sunglasses even though I wasn’t. Overall I feel really lucky to have been able to experience it.”
Dr. Grant Thompson, an astronomy professor, went down to South Carolina to view the total eclipse and had a different experience. According to reports, South Carolina was in the direct path for complete totality making it so that when the moon fully covered the sun it would actually get dark.
He said he has been waiting years to view the total eclipse so he didn’t let the first day of classes stop him from traveling to South Carolina to watch.
I also went to South Carolina to watch the total eclipse and I had goosebumps watching the sun disappear. I was able to take off my glasses for a minute to capture the phenomenon. If you missed this year’s total solar eclipse, don’t worry, the next total eclipse will occur in the year 2316. Mark your calendars!
Edited by: Brea Childs
Additional reporting contributed by Brea Childs