April 8 Solar Eclipse a Rare Event That Winthrop Students Plan to Experience

April 03, 2024

HIGHLIGHTS

  • While this eclipse won’t be as complete as the one seven years ago in this area, viewers watching this eclipse in Rock Hill will see the moon cover about 75 percent of the sun between 1:53 p.m. and 4:26 p.m.
  • Observers are told not to look directly at the eclipse at any point without the use of ISO-Certified eclipse glasses,

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – As Joshua Prevette watched the last solar eclipse in 2017, the Winthrop University freshman marveled at the brilliant display of nature.

He was in his church’s parking lot surrounded by friends and family as they watched the moon block the face of the sun. “It made me feel aware of my place in everything. It gave me a greater appreciation of nature because it was an interesting display on a grandiose scale,” said the mass communication major from Lexington, South Carolina. “It was a bit of a humbling experience. It was beautiful.”

Prevette will be among many Americans planning to watch the Monday, April 8, solar event.  While this eclipse won’t be as complete as the one seven years ago in this area, viewers watching this eclipse in Rock Hill will see the moon cover about 75 percent of the sun between 1:53 p.m. and 4:26 p.m.

The solar eclipse’s path of totality, where all of the sun is covered, will stretch across portions of 13 states in the United States, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.

Winthrop officials advised that experiencing a solar eclipse is truly an awe aspiring event, when done safely. “It is important not to look directly at the eclipse at any point without the use of ISO-Certified eclipse glasses,” said James Grigg, associate vice president for facilities management. 

He warned that direct viewing of a partial eclipse at any point will permanently damage your vision. “It may be tempting to use welding goggles to view the eclipse; however, filter shades less than 12 are not protective against the strong rays of the sun, and should not be used,” Grigg said. 

Other Winthrop students also hope to watch the rare event. “It was so cool last time,” said Karson Byerly, a junior digital information design student from Hartsville, South Carolina. Since seeing the eclipse when she was in middle school, she has paid more attention to what is happening above her in the sky.

Byerly and her friends have heard of several eclipse-watchers planning to travel to cities on Monday where they can see a 100 percent eclipse.

Observers of the last eclipse talked about how the sky started to get a gloomy, gray color that didn’t look like twilight, a sunset or sunrise when the sun is low in the sky.

Several Winthrop students expected to be in afternoon classes during the eclipse and would miss it. But Senior Sera Crookes, a political science major from Greenville, South Carolina, hoped to talk her professor into letting the class go outside to view it, which would allow her to photograph it.

Prevette said he hopes to set up his hammock on the Campus Green and take in the show.

The 2017 eclipse took place the same day as Convocation so a viewing party was incorporated into the events. This upcoming eclipse might be worth watching because the next one won’t be visible across the contiguous U.S. again until August 2044.

For more information on eclipse safety or ways to view the eclipse see: https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/safety or Indirect Solar Viewing: Pinhole & Optical Projection | Solar Eclipse Across America (aas.org).

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