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Sun Spotting

More than 1,600 witness eclipse from Science and Mathematics Center

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As the peak of Monday’s eclipse neared Mike McCarthy had one of the best views around – through one of the university’s high-powered telescopes.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said.

The Bridgewater resident was one of more than 1,600 people who descended on the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center for Monday’s special event. The observatory was open to the public and a lecture about the eclipse by Professor Joseph Doyle was held. Meanwhile, in the auditorium a live stream of the entire path of totality was projected on a large screen.

Mr. McCarthy brought his mother and daughter to the event. Like many people around the globe, Mom found a deeper meaning in the eclipse, saying it reminded her of creation itself. Meredith McCarthy, 15, at first wasn’t sure she wanted in on this family outing, but a look through the telescope convinced her she’d made the right decision in coming along.

“I didn’t think it was going to be fun,” she said. “But it was good to see it.”

While more than 1,600 people registered for the event, which was sponsored by the observatory and the Center for the Advancement of STEM education, many others just came to campus hoping for a chance to see the eclipse. By 2 p.m. there was a long line waiting outside the observatory where there were three telescopes in use, and on the lawn in front of the Science and Mathematics Center dozens more congregated with their special eclipse glasses.

Among them was Stephanie S. Sullivan of Maryland, who was vacationing nearby. She and her husband, John, came prepared. They had their special glasses, a homemade pinhole box viewer and a colander. The latter seemed to please Ms. Sullivan the most.

“You can see it pretty clearly,” she said, as she used the colander to cast a shadow on the ground, each of its holes reflecting the current shape of the sun during the eclipse. 

Many of those present said they hoped to be around for the next eclipse, when New England will be in the path of totality. That event is seven years away. (Story and photos by John Winters, G ’11, University News & Media)

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