Sun. May 26th, 2024

Image: News_Solar_Eclipse_1: Photo of the solar eclipse, taken by Olivia Karczewski

On April 8, 2024, multiple areas of the United States were predicted to experience a solar eclipse; the greater Philadelphia region was forecasted to experience a partial solar eclipse, an event that has not happened in the area in a long time. In light of this rare astronomical event, hundreds of West Chester University students gathered in various spaces around campus to gawk at the sight of the moon covering the sun — even without 100% totality. 

According to WHYY.org, the eclipse in the Philadelphia area first began at 2:08 p.m., the highest coverage point was reached at 3:23 p.m. and the moon stopped covering the sun at 4:35 p.m. From 2:08 p.m. to 4:35 p.m., students of all educational standings gathered to stare at the sun.  

West Chester’s location was set to reach only 90% totality, according to NBC10 Philadelphia meteorologist Bill Henley. Despite not having complete totality for the eclipse, students, faculty and staff gathered to experience the once-in-a-lifetime moment. 

The university held an event on south campus where students could view the eclipse and learn more about it. Free solar eclipse glasses were provided to the first 750 attendees as well as viewing equipment, such as telescopes, were made available. Across from the tennis courts and softball fields, local residents and students all settled down with blankets and solar eclipse glasses to absorb the astronomical phenomenon. 

Not only did students gather at the school-sponsored events, but they also found the time to make their way outside and enjoy the nice weather. Students flocked onto the Academic Quad, the residential quad and anywhere else one could find a patch of grass and a clear view of the sky. 

As the moon crossed to cover the sun, hundreds of students on the Academic Quad cheered in celebration, only to have clouds roll in to cover up the eclipse. 

“I would say that the nice weather made it perfect,” said Bella Nimmerichter, a senior criminal justice student at WCU. “Everyone was comfortable being outside, and while there were a lot of clouds that covered it at times, it was really funny to have us all cheer when you could see it again.”  Despite the clouds and the less-than-entire coverage, students still enjoyed the event.

With the day of the eclipse being one of the first warmer days of the year, almost reaching a high of 70 degrees, the day doubled as a fun day of play. “Well, the eclipse itself was anticlimactic since we weren’t in the direct line. But, I loved that everyone was outside together,” said Madeline Davis, a second-year business marketing student. Even after the eclipse had concluded, students stuck around, studied and hung out with friends outside. 

It’s not every day that a solar eclipse occurs in the Philadelphia area. In fact, the next one won’t take place until around 2045. Until then, the campus will have to explore other ways to unite students. 

 


Olivia Karczewski is a second-year Media and Culture major with a minor in Journalism. OK992873@wcupa.edu.

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