With eyes on the sky, diverse crowd of viewers share eclipse experience

Autumn Sekerak, an eighth grader from St. Aloysius, views the eclipse through special glasses.

By DAVID DUPONT

BG Independent News

For an astronomical event, the solar eclipse provoked some very down-to-earth reactions – awe, conviviality, generosity.

Normal campus life seemed to be put on pause at Bowling Green State University Monday afternoon as the moon rolled over the sun. Though Bowling Green was not in the path of eclipse in its totality, students, faculty, and community members gathered outside on the lawn of the planetarium. More than a 100 made their way to the roof to watch the eclipse with all manner of approved devices, from telescopes to homemade cardboard boxes.

The standard equipment for the day were viewing glasses with colorful cardboard frames that looked like the 3D glasses given out at the movies.

Those were in short supply, but people shared them. People would look intently at the sun, and then pulling the glasses off, they would offer them to the nearest person, often a stranger.

Heather Sekerak came equipped with a homemade box to help her two children, Jozef and Autumn, view the eclipse.

“We’re not here because of the hype,” she said. “We’re here because it’s cool.”

Though she said she didn’t have the academic disposition to formally study science, she loves it and wants to pass that love on to her children.

Joy Penney views eclipse through a telescope.

“This is the opportunity for them to know there’s something beyond them and something bigger than themselves,” she said. “I love science for who created it; God created science, so I love it.”

Jayson and Cari Hines were also there with their young children, Aiden and Amelia.

Cari Hines said they get to a lot of the shows at the planetarium, and that’s rubbed off on Aiden, who loves the planets. He even has a favorite, Jupiter.

“Part of the moon is covering the sun. Did you notice that?” he asked the reporter with whom he’d shared his glasses.

Amelia said the sun, at this point a third covered “looks like the moon.”

One 8-year-old, though, was less impressed with the eclipse. With only a sliver of the sun covered by the moon, it wasn’t quite living up to his expectations. He did agree with the suggestion that having 3D eclipse glasses may make it more exciting.

Rachael Brooks, a sophomore from Kent, said it was fun to have the viewing at the planetarium where they could enjoy a sense of community with the others on hand.

“It’s not just the people from BGSU,” said her friend Morgan Reasinger, a sophomore from Hilliard. “It’s all the families. It’s fun to talk with them.”

Viewing the historic event in company was part of what drew sisters-in-law Debbie and Amber Croke to the campus from Sylvania.

Debbie Croke said she heard about the viewing and at the spur of the moment called her sister-in-law and asked if she wanted to come down with her.

All the eclipse viewing glasses were sold out, so this was a chance to safely see the event.

They remember using shoe boxes to view an eclipse when they were in elementary school, and now it was fun to see all the children on the roof sharing this experience.

People gather on the lawn outside the planetarium to watch the solar eclipse.

For Renee Hopper, from Dublin, this was a great way to spend her very first day of classes as a BGSU student.

For one thing, she could look over campus and get a better sense of the geography.

The eclipse is so rare, and it was enjoyable to see everyone gathered together to witness it, she said. “This is special to have freshmen and upper classmen passing glasses back and forth.”

Already people were talking about the next total eclipse that will be visible in North America. That one will be April 8, 2024.

That gives the experts plenty of time to work on the 3D eclipse viewing glasses.

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