Thousands of UT Dallas students, staff and faculty flocked to the Eugene McDermott Library this week to watch in wonder through solar eclipse glasses, sun spotters and cameras as the moon blotted out the sun and turned daylight into twilight.
“This is so much fun. It’s by far one of the biggest and best events the Library has ever had – and I’ve been to a lot of them,” said second-year grad student Ava Raisi.
The event was even featured on the front page, as well as the Metro section, of The Dallas Morning News displaying several online slide shows the day of and the day after the celestial moment.
Students started lining up early Monday morning and waited more than two hours to get one of the 650 coveted pairs of eclipse glasses the Library handed out.
The line for eclipse glasses started in the Library lobby, headed out the west doors, wrapped around the west patio and somehow twisted into three lines and then headed around the other side of the building. When Library staff began handing out glasses at 11:30 a.m., the line moved swiftly and all were gone within 15 minutes.
But all was not lost for students who did not get a pair of glasses. McDermott Library staff shared there glasses with students who didn’t have them. Dr. Mark Hairston (pictured below), research scientist at the UT Dallas William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences, shared his sun spotters and talked to students about the solar event.
Not everything of interest, though, was in the sky, Dr. Hairston pointed out. The photo below, taken just south of the Library, is of small crescents in the shadows from nearby trees. During a solar eclipse, said Hairston, the tiny gaps between leaves act as pinhole lenses, projecting mini solar eclipses onto the world below.
If you missed the solar eclipse – don’t worry. Dallas will be in the path of a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, when the eclipse will travel from Mexico to Texas, through Ohio, New York, Vermont, Maine and parts of Canada.