Wayland Students Caught Staring at the Sun

PLAINVIEW - The School of Mathematics and Sciences at Wayland Baptist University held a solar eclipse viewing party Monday, complete with Sunkist Lemonade and Moon Pies. The event was well attended as students, employees and community members enjoyed getting a quick view of the celestial phenomenon.

While a bank of clouds moved through shortly before noon, the layer was thin enough that those in attendance could still see the eclipse. The moon covered approximately 75% of the sun. According to eclipse2017.nasa.gov, the last total eclipse in the United States was Feb. 26, 1979, visible only in the northwestern United States. The next annular solar eclipse that will be visible from the U.S. will be on Oct. 14, 2023 with the next total eclipse coming on April 8, 2024. The next total eclipse will be visible from Texas.

Dr. Tim Walsh, professor of geology at Wayland, said scientific interest in the eclipse comes from the ability to view the outer fringes of the sun when it is obscured by the moon.

"For science, especially when you have totality, you can observe things around the sun that you can't normally see," he said. "We have filters and things that we can put on telescopes to simulate an eclipse, but it's not the same as having totality. The patterns within the corona are visible that you can't see at other times."