By: SARAH E BULL
The first day of welcome week at IU South Bend had a special guest this year, a partial solar eclipse, which IUSB saw peak at 88 percent totality at 2:22 p.m.
The eclipse, according to NASA.gov, began in Oregon and crossed the country, ending in South Carolina. 1918 was the last time an eclipse made its way through the nation, and, according to astronomy professor Dale Mais, 1979 was the last U.S. eclipse to achieve totality, making this one a truly spectacular event.
Mais also explained that the next U.S. eclipse to achieve totality will be in 2024, just a short time away, though there is an annular eclipse expected in 2023, which is when “the moon is too small to cover the sun so you get a ring around the moon,” Mais said.
While many flocked to the path of totality, which South Bend missed by nearly 300 miles, students and staff who remained at the university used the partial eclipse as an excuse to cut class and live in the moment. In an unexpected way, the eclipse brought students together and created a first day no one will forget anytime soon.
English professor Kelcey Ervick said, “This is bringing the IUSB community together. Look at all these students out here!”
Ervick was not the only one to notice the excitement and party-like atmosphere. Psychology major Erin Lambright received eclipse glasses from her chemistry professor and the whole class took a trip outside to view the event.
“It’s cool that we get to see it, that it happened on the first day back. It’s my friend’s first day of college and this made a really laid-back first day for her,” said Lambright.
Students who did not have eclipse glasses had the option to view the eclipse in the University Grill on the pull-down screen, but many chose to view it on the lawn as people shared their glasses without issue—leaving one to conclude that there really is nothing like a once-in-a lifetime experience to bring people together.
The safe viewing environment provided by the University allowed onlookers to take in the eclipse without injury, though the google search term “eyes hurt” spiked in popularity on the day after.
While some students chose to head south to experience the totality, those who remained in South Bend experienced not only the eclipse, but a sense of community, as students stood together, necks craned towards the sky.