By Evie Lubak
Aug. 21, 2017, and even the weeks leading up to it were hot with news of the solar eclipse. This rare phenomenon is a once in a lifetime experience, one the contiguous U.S. has not seen since 1979 according to NASA.gov.
There were warnings all across Facebook and other social media of how to not go blind while viewing the eclipse, rapid sales and shortages of special eclipse glasses to watch the event, and some schools like Wake Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina ended the school day early in preparation for the eclipse, sending students home with glasses to view the event with their families.
A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, and part or all of the sun is blocked out. A total eclipse where only the sun’s corona is visible could only be seen within the eclipse’s path of totality which stretches from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
The eclipse could still be observed outside of the path of totality; however, it would only be a partial eclipse with the sun more or less covered depending on how far the viewing location was from the path of totality. In general, it took an hour and a half for the entire eclipse to take place, with time the sun was actually covered only lasting about one or two minutes.
Regular sunglasses or even a camera lens are not strong enough to protect the human eye from the damaging UV rays of the sun, even during an eclipse, requiring special glasses to filter out the harmful rays during a partial eclipse.
Only a total eclipse can be viewed safely with the naked eye. Despite the shortness in duration of this celestial event, many people traveled to cities in the path of totality to experience the total eclipse.
While the ideal viewing spot of the eclipse was in Charleston, many here in Raleigh got a good view of this special event. Different schools and colleges like NC State University held on-campus events on the day of the eclipse.
Madeline Lubak, a NCSU sophomore Food Science major, said the campus was packed as the festivities were open to both students and the public and that eclipse glasses and pin-hole viewers were handed out to spectators on a first come, first serve basis.
“It was really cool to experience the eclipse at a math and science school,” said Lubak, “Because the whole science department was outside in the brickyard with the students to tell them how to view the eclipse safely, the science behind what was going on, and also demonstrate how to make pin-hole viewers if they didn’t have safety glasses.”
William Peace University students on campus early before classes started on the 23rd also saw the eclipse, with 93% coverage at 2:44 p.m. according to WNCN.com.
Jonas Monanteras, a WPU senior simulation and game design major, recounts all the excitement building up to and on the day of the eclipse.
“Amongst all the political fighting in America, the solar eclipse offered us a moment to forget all about our differences and just look up to witness something beautiful,” said Monanteras.
While it was short and sweet, the solar eclipse is one celestial event to be remembered for years to come and be able to say you were part of it.