The Milligan community came together at The Village Lawn on Monday to view the historic solar eclipse as it passed over the college. The 96.8% Eclipse of the Sun viewing party was hosted and sponsored by the Campus Activities Board (CAB), the Society of Scientific Christian Scholars and the newly reinstated Buffalo Ramblers.
The party began at 1:08pm, just as the eclipse was beginning and was celebrated using sun-themed snacks like Sunkist, MoonPies, and SunChips. A drum circle was also present during the majority of the eclipse thanks to junior Katie Starr-Harrell, the president of the Society of Scientific Christian Scholars. At two o’clock, around seven students packed under the tent playing a drum set, two djembés, some pots and pans, and even what looked like a cookie sheet.
According to Starr-Harrell, she had initially heard about the eclipse a few weeks ago, “I know some people have been planning it for basically there whole lives, but I have not.”
But once she heard about it, she says she “immediately got on board”.
“It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity… this same pathway has not happened in 99 years.”
As the sun was being partially blocked by the moon, the sky got darker and was jokingly described as “an evening Instagram picture taken with a filter” by senior Becca Guthrie. The peak of the eclipse was at 2:37pm had 96.8% coverage.
Other students, however, skipped classes Monday to chase after the path of totality. Seniors Nick Baylor, Andre Palpant and sophomore Madi Troyer all went to Sylvia, NC to see the full coverage, but left a bit disappointed.
“It was cloudy the whole time and we couldn’t use our glasses. But, we didn’t need the glasses because we could see the sun through the clouds,” Baylor said.
As far as the experience went, Baylor says, “It got what seemed like 20 degrees colder on the mountain we were on… There was a 365 degree sunset, it felt like 8 or 9 at night. Even though we couldn’t see the full coverage, it was still so fascinating.”
Senior Caleb Perhne also took a road trip to Andrews, NC in order to see the total eclipse. Recalling the experience, he says it was, “the most amazing thing I have ever seen”.
As another part of the celebration at Milligan, there was a dedication of a telescope that had been used by Milligan’s founder, Dr. Josephus Hopwood.
According to an AccuWeather article, we may not have to wait as long for the next solar eclipse in the United States. In 2024 another solar eclipse will take place, on a different path from Maine to Texas, leaving out the western-most states. The path of totality will go through major cities: Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo. However, the path of totality will not go through Tennessee at all.