MU campus enraptured by rare solar eclipse

The MARK employee Morgan Mehr: “I couldn’t get past it. I keep thinking about it, like visions in my head on how cool it was.”

By Alexandra Sharp | Aug. 25, 2017

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It was dusk in the middle of the afternoon on Monday when MU students witnessed a rare moment in scientific history: a total solar eclipse passing over Columbia. The 2017 solar eclipse passed over MU around 1:12 p.m. and caused darkness for a total of 2 minutes and 36 seconds. As the sun slid behind the moon, students and staff across campus marveled at the exciting, and to some, frightening, moment of totality.

For Morgan Mehr, an employee at The MARK on 5th Street, the solar eclipse was something she’ll never forget, especially because she was able to experience it with her boyfriend and three-year-old daughter Jasmine. Mehr felt the moment was especially magical for her and her daughter since she would stargaze with her father as a child.

“[My dad] would wake us up in the middle of the night and show us constellations and, you know, shooting stars and find asteroids and things in the sky,” Mehr said. “And because of that, it was really important to be able to share that with my kid. [...] Seeing her reaction, it was epic.”

Although the solar eclipse was short-lived, Mehr cannot stop picturing the moment of the sun gliding behind the moon.

“It was a heartthrob,” Mehr said. “It really was. I couldn’t get past it. I keep thinking about it, like visions in my head on how cool it was.”

Freshman Cameron Hoffman found the eclipse amazing yet eerie to watch. While he felt underwhelmed by the event as the sun slowly inched behind the moon, the moment of totality left him shocked. According to Hoffman, one of the most intriguing parts of the eclipse was how the environment was affected by the lack of midday sun.

“It’s probably one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen, actually,” Hoffman said. “I feel like I should have been in a slasher film ... It was definitely really cool. Like just the way the light spread around the sun, it gave the landscape this kind of spooky atmosphere.”

When sophomore Regan Huston watched the eclipse on Fifth Street, she was “chilled” by how clear it was. While others greatly enjoyed the physical aspects of the eclipse, Huston was more interested in the astrological significance of the event.

“Usually eclipse [sic] are a tough time for people … ” Huston said. “A lot of people are like, ‘Oh gosh, the eclipse is coming. My life is about to be trash,’ but really it’s like more of a time of accepting change and like making yourself be a stronger person.”

It has been 148 years since Missouri saw a solar eclipse, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and Huston cannot wait for the next one. For her, one of the greatest parts of the eclipse was watching how it positively affected MU’s campus.

“Even if I was just sitting at the [Mark Twain front] desk, everyone that would walk in and out, you could feel that they were so excited for [the eclipse] to happen,” Huston said. “I think right now that’s really important because there is a lot of tension I think politically and stuff and just like day to day, so I think it was really cool to have something that mellowed everyone out and made them feel happy for a little while.”

Edited by Claire Colby | ccolby@themaneater.com

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