From left, eclipse viewers Yvette Miller, Candice Seals, Hazel McCoy, Darryl Williams and Andre Harris II. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Education, Feature

Crowd at PSC watches astronomical dance

With necks craned and special glasses in place, a crowd of area residents and students watched the eclipse Monday, April 8, from the Scholars Garden at Prairie State College.

Dawn Sterning, PSC library services manager, said the event included an opportunity to make a pinhole projector. Plus, a livestream video from NASA was displayed in the auditorium just inside so anyone who didn’t have eclipse viewing glasses, or who preferred to be indoors, could still experience the event.

She said about 300 eclipse glasses were handed out. That meant the crowd was event bigger than for the previous eclipse event in 2017. 

Russell Guldin, handing out eclipse glasses in the courtyard, was also handing out safety advice, warning people about the danger of eye damage for anyone who looked at the sun without protection. 

“You look at the sun right now for about five seconds, you’ll get some sun spots and a headache,” he said. “If you do that for the same amount of time while you’re looking at an eclipse, you probably will wind up with a permanent sun spot.”

Haiming Wang, professor and coordinator of the physics and astronomy department at PSC, with help from several assistants, had three methods of watching the eclipse progress: one telescope casting a shadow on a piece of white paper, one solar telescope for direct viewing and one set of binoculars casting a shadow on white paper.

  • Haiming Wang, PSC professor and coordinator of physics and astronomy, adjusts a solar telescope during the eclipse viewing event April 8. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    Haiming Wang, PSC professor and coordinator of physics and astronomy, adjusts a solar telescope during the eclipse viewing event April 8. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  • Dawn Sterning, PSC library services manager, explains the various eclipse activities offered on April 8. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    Dawn Sterning, PSC library services manager, explains the various eclipse activities offered on April 8. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  • Russell Guldin, left, hands out eclipse glasses in the courtyard at Prairie State College on April 8. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    Russell Guldin, left, hands out eclipse glasses in the courtyard at Prairie State College on April 8. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  • The shadow of the moon is getting more prominent on a reflection of the eclipse. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    The shadow of the moon is getting more prominent on a reflection of the eclipse. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  • The shadow of the moon as seen in this telescope reflection. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    The shadow of the moon as seen in this telescope reflection. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  • The Scholars Garden at Prairie State College fills with people as the solar eclipse begins on April 8. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    The Scholars Garden at Prairie State College fills with people as the solar eclipse begins on April 8. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  • From left, eclipse viewers Yvette Miller, Candice Seals, Hazel McCoy, Darryl Williams and Andre Harris II. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    From left, eclipse viewers Yvette Miller, Candice Seals, Hazel McCoy, Darryl Williams and Andre Harris II. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  • Citlally, Guadalupe and Abraham Avina of Chicago Heights are ready to watch the eclipse from the Scholars Garden at Prairie State College. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    Citlally, Guadalupe and Abraham Avina of Chicago Heights are ready to watch the eclipse from the Scholars Garden at Prairie State College. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

By the time the moon began passing in front of the sun at about 12:50 p.m. the Scholars Garden was filled with people watching the event and expressing amazement at what they were seeing. 

The crowd at PSC did not get to see a full eclipse. The moon obscured about 95% of the sun at the peak of the event. 

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