Mother Nature provided a special treat for the first day of classes at Washington State University this year: a total solar eclipse across all of the United States. Although the path of totality ran from the Oregon coast all the way through South Carolina, the Vancouver, Tri-Cities, and Pullman campus each experienced more than 93% of the surface of the sun being blocked by the moon. The College of Arts and Sciences hosted a viewing party on the Holland Library lawn and at the Jewett Observatory to help students and the WSU community enjoy and learn about the celestial phenomenon. Solar glasses were the most popular way to look at the sun–and the only way to do so safely.
At Holland Library, volunteers from the Department of Physics, along with the CAS Student Ambassadors, showed students and community members how to use various projection methods, from pinhole cards to crackers with small holes to just your hands, to see the crescent shape of the sun during the eclipse. Technical Services constructed a “safe solar viewer” projection viewer with a larger projection image. At Jewett Observatory, a special solar filter on the telescope allowed attendees to safely view the sun individually and a custom-made projection unit shard a projection of the sun with the crowd.
— By Joanna Steward, College of Arts and Sciences