Students gather to view solar eclipse

Photo: Bobby Jones


Hundreds of students gathered on the Tivoli quad Monday morning to witness one of nature’s most remarkable phenomenons: an eclipse of the sun. But, what is an eclipse anyway? A solar eclipse is when the moon’s orbit passes between the sun and the Earth, which causes the moon to block all or part of the sun’s light, and the moon to cast a shadow over the Earth. Relative to many other natural occurrences, an eclipse is quite rare. However, the type of eclipse the Auraria campus got to experience is even rarer.

The reason Aug. 21’s eclipse was so special is because it was the first total solar eclipse to be seen from the United States since 1991, and even then, only few could really experience it and the line of totality did not pass through the country. For many, Aug. 21, 2017 was a once-in- a-lifetime occurrence.

While Denver wasn’t directly in the path of totality, with 92.31 percent obscurity, it was still a memorable event. Students and faculty from all three schools on Auraria campus sat on the grass and gazed through solar-filtered glasses to witness the rare phenomenon.

As the moon moved into the sun’s path, the sky darkened, the air cooled, and the bugs came out. At 11:47 a.m. in Denver, it felt like dusk. But the strange sensation was fleeting, as the eclipse concluded in a matter of minutes, and ordinary life at Auraria resumed.

Even students not on Auraria campus got to experience the beauty and camaraderie of the event. Sage Goldberg, a biology student, was on University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus at the time of the eclipse. “I don’t know how to describe it,” Goldberg said. “Everybody stopped what they were doing. All the doctors and nurses went out into the parking lot and a bunch of patients came out and we all looked up at the sky and shared a bunch of glasses.”

Just like at Auraria, people thought the event was remarkable. “I’ve never seen a solar eclipse before, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I thought it was pretty exciting,” Gold- berg said. “The shadows were really cool with all the crescent shapes; you could see the eclipse through the shadows.”

Luckily, for those who missed the eclipse, or those who wish they could have seen the event in full totality, there is still a chance to witness a total eclipse, but it might take some patience. Mark you calendars for Aug. 12, 2045, which is the next time a solar eclipse will be visible from Colorado, and with the path of totality passing right through the state.

Tessa Blair
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