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Partial Eclipse Attracts Crowds At University of Utah

On Monday morning a partial solar eclipse was visible over Salt Lake City. At the University of Utah several thousand people gathered to watch the moon pass in front of the sun.

On the first day of classes, students, teachers, and visitors gathered in front of the Marriott Library on campus to witness the eclipse. Mel Kenwood visited from Nevada and stopped by for the viewing party.

"Well, the moon is going between the earth and the sun, so it’s going to block out the sun during the daytime. Well, how do you put it into words? It’s historical," Kenwood said. 

In Utah 91 percent of the sun was covered by the moon leaving a narrow thumbnail of light.

Kathrine Skollingsberg works in the university’s department of physics and astronomy. She observed some of the subtler effects of the eclipse.

"If you’re looking at, say, the sunshine through the trees, the shadow it makes on the ground you’ll actually see the eclipse as if it were a pinhole postcard," Skollingsberg said. 

The result was a series of tiny, half-moon-shaped eclipses projected in the shadows of trees.

Brian Burrington also visited campus. He brought a homemade pinhole camera and homemade eclipse glasses from the inside of discarded floppy discs.

"I noticed that the drop in temperature was pretty dramatic. And just the color of the light looking around without any glasses has shifted, which is really cool. My favorite thing has just been watching the people. Everyone is like they’re ten years old again, and that’s pretty exciting," Burrington said. 

The peak of the eclipse happened at 11:33 a.m. to the applause of the waiting crowd. 

If you missed this one, the next total solar eclipse to pass North America will be on April 8, 2024.

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