ECLIPSE VIEWINGS DRAW CROWDS

Looking at the solar eclipse through a specialized telescope on Central Park Campus.

People of all ages took part in the solar eclipse viewing at the Central Park Campus. For more photos of that event, click here.

Collin College got swept up in the excitement of the Great American Eclipse, Aug. 21. Groups of eager sun gazers gathered at events across the district to get a glimpse of the partial eclipse visible from North Texas.

More than 100 people were on hand at Central Park Campus to get a peek at the solar eclipse through three solar telescopes and special glasses. Physics professor Julia Wickett fielded numerous questions and showed visitors how they could see the eclipse in the dappled shade, explaining that as the moon passes in front of the sun it makes a shadow on the earth.

It is an event that many of the people in attendance had never seen before. Although partial annular eclipses have been visible in the U.S. at other times, this one had the distinction of the total eclipse’s shadow falling across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina and Georgia.

Sophia Hines, Solar Eclipse Viewing

Biotechnology lab instructor Sophia Hines takes a photo of the eclipse through eclipse-safe glasses during the event at Spring Creek Campus

People gathered at Central Park, Preston Ridge and Spring Creek campuses saw a 77 percent coverage of the sun, dimming the sky without the total darkening that would have happened with a total eclipse. The sun appeared crescent-shaped in the red-tinted solar telescopes used for safe viewing. People could be seen taking pictures with their phones through the telescope’s eyepiece.

McKinney resident Susan Jakobsen said she learned about the college’s viewing event from the Dallas Morning News.

“I remember being a kid (during the last solar eclipse), but we didn’t have anything to look at it with. This is really cool,” she said.

Jakobsen’s son Soren, who will soon be in eighth grade, agreed.

“It is cool to come see the eclipse. It looked like a moon,” he said.

Rachel Freeland said she drove in from Melissa to catch a glimpse of the eclipse at the Central Park Campus.

“I just got texts from three different friends that said, ‘We are at the college and it is awesome.’ This college is really good; everybody goes here,” Freeland said.

Viewing events were organized by the physics and astronomy professors at each campus, including help from Wickett, Greg Sherman, Lee Powell, Melanie Yates, Mohammed Azeem, Dennis McFadden, Geoffrey Ussery and others.

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