Richland Student Media

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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

Dallas


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Richland Chronicle 4/09/24
Richland Chronicle 4/09/24

There goes the sun – an eclipse story

Richland will go dark underneath the path of totality
Students+at+Richland+during+the+annular+eclipse+in+Oct.+2023.
Staff Photo/Jason Tejeda
Students at Richland during the annular eclipse in Oct. 2023.

Darkness will cover the Dallas sky for about 4.5 minutes as the city aligns with the path of totality of the April 8 total solar eclipse.
“If you should look down to the horizon and look all the way around you, all 360 degrees you will see sunlight like, as if it were sunrise,” said Heather Appleby, professor of astronomy and physics at Dallas College, Richland Campus.
Dallas College will be hosting viewing events on all seven campuses for the rare astronomical event. At the Richland campus, parking lot C will be reserved for viewing and open to students and the public. The partial eclipse starts at about 12:23 p.m. Just before 1:41 p.m. the total eclipse will begin and the partial eclipse will continue until 3:02 p.m., according to nasa.gov.
Special eclipse glasses will be available for all those in attendance. Both student volunteers and faculty will be present to help viewers with safety and activities available on the site. Students may choose to advertise their clubs and organizations during the event by setting up tables.
“One of the other activities we’re gonna have is making your own pinhole camera and projection lens using sustainable materials. Such as a disposable paper tissue box, pinholes, wax or parchment paper.” Appleby said it will be good to have activities for children or those who need something to do and who are not necessarily there for the eclipse.
The Richland Food Pantry will be accepting donations of shelf-stable foods and hygiene products in the parking lot on the day of the event.
For an event like this, awareness and personal safety are crucial. The American Astronomical Society told Appleby, “Don’t be surprised if people literally stop their car, even from the middle of the highway.” Residents and visitors are encouraged not to drive that day, at least not on highways to be on the safe side.
Appleby urged viewers to not look at the sun with their bare eyes no matter how tempted the individual is. “You don’t have any nerves on your retina. You don’t feel the pain like you would an injury. Looking at the eclipse without the right lens may permanently blind a person with little to no medical resolutions,” said Appleby.
The last time Dallas residents experienced a total eclipse was in 1878 and the estimated “generic average” for a location to have a total eclipse is around every 300 years. The next total eclipse in Dallas is estimated to take place in 2317, according to Appleby.
In July 2023 Appleby was informed that the town of Ennis was sold out of hotel rooms. All campgrounds were sold out, and the town’s motor speedway was opened for RVs selling out completely for Apr. 7-8.
Ennis, a town of about 23,000, is expecting 200,000 people the day of the eclipse. Similarly, the Dallas area Marriott International hotels, the biggest hotel chain in the world, are all completely booked from the night of April 7 to April 8, according to Marriot Center of Reservations.
The experience can be very overwhelming given the uniqueness. People’s natural response is to cheer and celebrate or to cry because of how overwhelmed they are, according to Appleby.
Appleby said she recalled someone saying to her regarding experiencing a total eclipse, “It’s the one time I actually felt like I was not just part of the universe but I was a small tiny speck of the universe and I understood how small I am and how I fit into this big picture.”

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