News Copy Chief Sam Nelson reacts to the total solar eclipse

“We lay there on my friend’s blanket, paper glasses secure to protect our retinas, and sang along to ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart.’”

By Sam Nelson | Aug. 25, 2017

Tags: solar eclipse

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I woke up on the morning of the total solar eclipse with a cold. I couldn’t breathe out of my nose and my throat was rough, but I still had an astronomical phenomenon to witness. I made breakfast, got dressed and told myself to suck it up and go to the one class that had not been canceled.

When I returned to my apartment for lunch, I decided that I would make soup since there’s nothing better than hot, savory broth on a steamy August day. My friends informed me that they had found an eclipse-viewing spot on top of the Conley Avenue Parking Structure, so I grabbed my Campbell’s Soup on the Go and an obscene amount of tissues and went to join them.

We lay there on my friend’s blanket, paper glasses secure to protect our retinas, and sang along to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” The moon was slowly creeping across the sun, creating a smaller and smaller crescent every time I looked up. Occasionally, a cloud would drift over the sun, creating a smoky film when you looked with your glasses on. Totality inched closer.

Soon, the moon had almost completely overtaken the sun, and my friends and I stood, our necks stretched back as far as they could go. We watched the moon erase the last yellow bits of the sun and cheered when the moment of totality finally arrived. Our glasses immediately came off, and the temperature had dropped several degrees. All the crickets started chirping and Jesse Hall was illuminated against an afternoon sunset. It looked like a tornado sky, and everything seemed still, even though I could hear cheering from every direction.

Too soon, the moon moved farther across the sun, and our flimsy glasses went back on. We packed up the blanket and started the trek down from the top of the garage. As I returned to my apartment for the second time that day, everything felt calmer and lighter, like some great weight was lifted from the world. Maybe I had taken too much cold medicine. Maybe it was the fact that I had just witnessed a rare cosmic occurrence that I would never see again in my lifetime. Who’s to say?

My nose is still stuffy, and now I think I’m developing a cough, but I got to watch the moon block out the sun, and that’s pretty darn cool.

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