To kick off fall 2017, University of Northern Colorado students came together to experience the viewing of the Great American solar eclipse as it passed over Colorado.
Between 10:20 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday August 21, a party celebrating the eclipse was held at both the intersection of 10th Avenue and 20th Street and outside of Michener Library.
Tables were set out at both locations where eclipse glasses were handed out. When the clock struck 10:20 am, students rushed to get their glasses.
Hardly 20 minutes after the opening, all 500 glasses at the 20th Street and 10th Avenue location were gone. Many students shared their glasses amongst each other afterwards.
“We got there right at 10:00 and there was just a swarm of people already there waiting,” Emily Helm, a freshman from Greeley, said.
Students and staff from the University Program Council and Student Life, who were helping hand out glasses, were pleasantly surprised by the amount of students showing up.
“We definitely underestimated the amount of people that would show up, otherwise we would have ordered more boxes of glasses,” Natalie Tanner, a senior psychology major, said. “Students are so excited about it and it’s such a great experience to be a part of.”
The eclipse has been long anticipated for those all over the country, many traveling to lesser-known towns such as Ravenna, Nebraska or more well-known ones such as Casper, Wyoming to see totality. With Colorado having a viewing totality of about 90 percent, it made the campus a perfect viewing spot even though it the moon wouldn’t completely block out the sun.
As the moon began to cover the sun, the temperature dropped ever so slightly as the world became darker. The night bugs began to come out while birds flew back to their nests.
Groups of incoming freshmen sat outside to watching, having had most of their classes cancelled. Many of them had began school already curious about what the day would look like because of the eclipse.
“I heard about the eclipse when I was still in high school and so when I came to UNC I wanted to see what they were doing for it,” Jes Kneefel, a freshman from Denver, said.
Students had spread out all over the campus after receiving their glasses to be able to watch as much as they could.
“We’d been kind of looking at it periodically, but it was really cool just watching it progress,” Renee Goergen, a freshman from Greeley, said.
According to the NASA website for the eclipse, the last solar eclipse viewing in the U.S. was in 1979 where most of the northwestern region had total viewing. The next solar eclipse is said to be in the year 2024.
Whether students were sprawled out across the grass enjoying the experience with friends or walking to class and stopping to get a glimpse of the eclipse, it was a memorable first day of school.