By Meegan McCarthy
“The Eclipse of America” was heard repeatedly by excited GC students on the oncoming weeks before the day of Aug. 21, 2017. Many students had classes cancelled to see the show on our main campus, and as I waited around 2:13 p.m. (when the moon began to slide over the sun) with my own friends to see it, on the horizon I saw clouds. At first, I thought they’d miss us and we’d be able to see the eclipse, but as time went on and the sky began to faintly darken I realized it wasn’t because of the eclipse but because the clouds moved over the city of Greensboro. It also had begun to faintly rain.
My friends and I looked at each other and waited patiently but as the pinnacle hit over us, we saw not a thing but clouds and felt the light rain on us. I saw so many students around the GC fountain and front campus field with a quiet bitter silence. I saw people laughing it off, as I did, or others who looked completely frustrated that such a monumental time in our lives that lasted maybe 3 minutes was above us but we couldn’t see one moment of it.
A great moment was missed because of the weather. Thanks weather!
While my friend and I could see the beginning of it with our safety glasses, it was only for a brief time, maybe 15 minutes before the clouds came over. We had to drive out farther than we wanted to just to see the end of it. Even then we did not see the moon slip its last edge away from the sun because more clouds came over it from where we were. We didn’t bother try again.
National Geographic assures Americans they can see the eclipse again Apr. 8, 2024 from Mexico to New England. GC students and faculty were not happy the only cloud in the whole of North Carolina was above our heads and blocking our great chance. While it wouldn’t be totality for us and our location, if we had safety gear that was approved by NASA we would be able to see it safely and enjoy the great event. North Carolina reported we would be able to see 93-94% totality of the moon over the sun, we wouldn’t be able to take off our glasses but we would see much of it in our location.
I spoke to several students while the clouds began to cover our chance to see the eclipse. I found some just staring up without safety glasses and while I attempted to tell them not to look and to share with someone who had glasses, they told me they only lived once, laughed it off, and walked away. National Geographic reported just how important it was to wear glasses while looking at the eclipse. One of the reasons being a permanent crescent in your retina and possibility of losing sight completely or becoming partially blind. While they scared the wits out of me and others, some did not take it seriously and should have their sight checked by eye doctors immediately, especially if they are struggling to focus, their eyes are still irritated or they see a dark spot in their vision. The consequences of not wearing safety glasses is permanent damage to the retina and damage of receptors within the eye. This means people can possibly no longer drive from becoming partially blind. This is a serious subject as many people, including GC students, did not research the possible consequences of looking directly at the eclipse.
It was a frustrating moment for many GC students to have weather ruin a great moment in history, they are encouraged to watch it online with NASA, National Geographic or another website that streamed it. Photos are also available online by these professional researcher and they are breathtaking! Enjoy the moment and try to think on it with laughter and not bitterness for years to come. It will be a great joke one day!