Sunday, June 16, 2024

Students gather on The Green for rare partial solar eclipse viewing

NewsCampus NewsStudents gather on The Green for rare partial solar eclipse viewing

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

University students and faculty from various disciplines filled The Green on Monday to watch a rare partial solar eclipse pass over Delaware. 

Although Delawareans did not witness a total eclipse, they still had a partial view between 2:07 p.m. and 4:34 p.m. It is not every day students can witness such a phenomenon right outside their classes.  

Meghan Freeze/THE REVIEW. Students gather on The Green to watch the eclipse.

Students who were lucky enough to make it to Sharp Lab, the Department of Physics & Astronomy’s headquarters, were able to secure free eclipse glasses before 1:00 p.m. For those who were not so lucky, other students were selling them on The Green at various locations for $7 a piece – and they were selling like hotcakes. 

Some students, such as Ilana Lavene, a junior astronomy and applied mathematics major, were on top of eclipse preparation. 

“I have a whole stack of glasses that I got from the physics lounge,” she said. 

Lavene explained that she was particularly excited about the eclipse because it correlates with her major. Many of her peers had even traveled to different parts of the country to see the eclipse in full totality. 

“It’s something cool that doesn’t happen out of the ordinary,” Lavene said. “A lot of the astronomy people are in Texas to see totality. Even my mom and my sister are in Ohio to see the totality.” 

Students and faculty from the astronomy department traveled to Texas not only to witness totality, but also to collaborate with other universities on a balloon project relating to the eclipse. 

According to Henry Sanford-Crane, an astrophysics graduate student, the team released a high-altitude balloon with equipment to study different atmospheric conditions during an eclipse.

“Undergraduate students designed and built the balloon,” Sanford-Crane said. “They are mainly trying to look at the plasma from the sun during the eclipse.”

For Nick Korzun, a fourth-year graduate student studying high-energy astroparticle physics, the eclipse was a long time coming. 

“It’s a rare opportunity to see something like this,” Korzun said. “Whether you study physics or not, the sun and moon are two things you see every day in your life. To see something so spectacular like this is so exciting for everyone.”

Courtesy of Brian Pan. Monday’s partial solar eclipse, as seen in Newark.

Korzun and Sanford-Crane are both part of an on-campus graduate student organization, the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Society (PAGSS). Together, they set up telescopes with special filters on the lenses, so that everyone could see the eclipse up-close. 

Students pursuing majors outside the astronomy field were also excited about the eclipse. Allie Glading, a senior mathematics major and one of Lavene’s friends, geared up to watch the eclipse with equal excitement. 

“Maybe STEM majors do care more, but I thought everyone would be excited about it,” Glading said.  “It’s not something that happens everyday.” 

In addition to trying to witness the eclipse with their own eyes, many students took on the difficult task of capturing it with their cameras. 

Meghan Freeze/THE REVIEW. Undergraduate student Brian Pan attempts to capture the eclipse with his camera.

Max Morrison, a freshman electrical engineering major, took drastic measures to obtain a special camera lens designed for capturing the eclipse and detailed the competitive process it took to gain a camera lens cover that would protect the lens from the sun’s rays.  

“That lens on that camera is the hard part to get,” Morrison said. “If you didn’t order it online in time, you’d have to go to the store right away. I went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and it was $150 for a cover for this lens. My backup was to go to New York City.” 

Other students stood eagerly around Morrison, using the lens cover to capture images of the eclipse with their own cameras. However, Noah Brecht, a junior mechanical engineering major, had a more creative approach. 

“I kind of made my own filter for my camera lens,” Brecht said. “I just stuck one of the eclipse glasses lenses onto the camera and blacked out the rest of the lens with a couple levels of duct tape and it works pretty well.” 

Whether they were there for educational purposes or simply for pure enjoyment, The Green was jam-packed with people eager to see the partial eclipse, a phenomenon that the First State will not see again until 2044 and 2045.

“It’s the first time in a while we’ve had an eclipse this close to totality around here,” Sam Roberts, a sophomore meteorology major, said. “We are not gonna have another one for several decades, and we’ll probably be long gone from here.”





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