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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Community Gravitates to Campus for Eclipse

Students+gathered+on+the+Memorial+Student+Center+Plaza+and+Buskirk+Field+to+watch+the+Solar+Eclipse+on+Monday%2C+April+8.
Abigail Cutlip
Students gathered on the Memorial Student Center Plaza and Buskirk Field to watch the Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8.
The solar eclipse, as seen in Huntington, West Virginia (Scott Price)

“Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles echoed across a community-filled Buskirk Field as a solar eclipse reached 95% coverage on Monday, April 8—with the music provided by WMUL-FM, Marshall’s student radio.

After giving away nearly 2000 pairs of solar eclipse glasses at 11 a.m., Sean McBride, the Marshall Astronomy Club’s faculty adviser, expected a large  turnout on campus for the viewing.

“We gave away roughly in between 1500 to 2000 glasses, so I would estimate there’s at least 2000 people that have descended onto campus here today,” McBride said, “and much more are here without glasses using the TV screen here to check it out.”

Members of MUAC and the Society of Physics teamed up to host a viewing that would be safe and easily accessible for those in the community, which involved using a telescope to project the eclipse onto a screen for those who did not or could not wear protective glasses.

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Even though the last eclipse in the Huntington area occurred seven years ago in 2017, McBride said the next will not take place for approximately 20 years, which is why the clubs showcased the event.

“This is an event that does not happen all the time,” he said. “It’s just an opportunity to observe science as it’s happening.”

Hannah Turner, the president of MUAC, said although the astronomy club is fairly new, their goal has been community outreach in the past two years—with a focus on familiarizing children with science. 

“We found, in this community, there’s not a lot of exposure to astronomy discussions,” Turner said. “We’ve seen a lot of younger kids that have never used a telescope – there’s probably some here that have never experienced an eclipse before. So, we’re just very happy to hold this event for the public because it’s a historical moment.”

McBride said the screening of the eclipse catered not only to those without glasses but also to children who may not want to wear the glasses. Glasses were handed out to as many people as possible, though, because of the danger of viewing the eclipse without them.

“The cones and rods inside your eye are not able to handle the intensity of the sun focused on your retinas, so it will damage the sensors inside your retinas,” McBride said.

The club set up in the field for the entirety of the eclipse in order to give students, staff and community members the opportunity to take part in the event. 

“Why wouldn’t you want to be able to say you experienced an eclipse from your alma mater?” Turner said. “Marshall is already such a wonderful place to be, and I think having events like this to be able to reflect back on in these memories is what makes it all worthwhile.”

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    Martha Ann FryApr 8, 2024 at 10:01 pm

    This is a wonderful story of the solar eclipse , along with comments from the clubs that hosted the event on Marshall’s campus. It was very well covered.

    Reply