When the day met the night

Posted on 29 August 2017 by Ian Schrauth

Meramec campus witnesses total solar eclipse

 

By: Bri Heaney
Staff Writer

 

For about three minutes on August 18th, most Missourians forgot their differences and stood under uniting sun and moon, witnessing the once-in-a-lifetime cosmic event with the help of special solar-viewing glasses.

There are on average two complete solar eclipses every three years. However most of them happen over the ocean where they cannot be seen by most of the population. This year, Missouri was not only the heart of the Midwest but the heart of the ecliptic line. The Meramec campus was perfectly positioned to observe this rare occurrence.

Meramec’s Parking Lot K became the site for an eclipse viewing party, hosting a gathering of students starting a few hours before the event. Food offerings included Moon Pies, Sunchips, and Eclipse chewing gum, and solar-viewing glasses were handed out. Students chatted happily in the moments leading up to the eclipse, but during the final seconds, everyone cheered.

When the moon aligned with the sun along the ecliptic line that transverses the country on a diagonal from Oregon to South Carolina, things got dark. As the sun became entirely concealed in what is known as totality, birds started to chirp, bugs swarmed and frogs started to sing.

“It was the most beautiful darkness,” said Meramec student Jackie Kutz.

Totality lasted for an average of  three minutes around the St. Louis metro area. As the moon continued to glide eastward, the sun emerged and the air warmed.

Gradually the sky returned to its usual late summer brightness, leaving no evidence of the previous spectacle outside of  one spectacular memory

 

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