Richland Student Media

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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

Dallas


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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

Richland in total shock over total eclipse

Illustration using photos of the sun taken by Chronicle staff as the sun is eclipsed by the moon. (Staff Photoillustration/Aislyn Smith)

Students, faculty and community members gathered April 8 at the Dallas College Richland Campus to witness a rare total solar eclipse. The eclipse began over the Dallas area around 12:20 p.m. It reached its totality at 1:40 p.m. The total eclipse lasted approximately 3 minutes 15 seconds at Richland ending around 1:43 p.m.

This was the first total eclipse in the North Texas region since 1878, nearly 150 years ago. Hundreds of people gathered outside campus buildings to look at the eclipse. Many were parents with their children and extended family. These families came from many different backgrounds around the globe.

Henock Zewde traveled from London to Dallas to witness the total eclipse. He said he very much enjoyed the eclipse.

“So I think my favorite part was when it looks like a ring, so there’s a diamond ring that shows up. I guess it’s spiritual in nature, it’s surprising. The fact that it goes slightly dark at that point, you start seeing stars and so on.” He added, “I like how the beautiful diamond encoded and it made everything really dark. And also the shadows in the walls, how they all look like the solar eclipse.”

Students and families watch the total eclipse at the Richland eclipse viewing event on April 8. (Staff Photo/Carlos Ortega)

Zewde said a big factor for making the 4,750 mile flight from London was his kids and family and that they really enjoy astronomy.

“We really enjoy astronomy. Especially Malcolm. He likes astronomy, so it was a big thing for him to come and see it. Also my wife, my two kids, my uncles, and my agent. I brought my agent along. Both my uncles, my cousin, we all came together.”

Many people brought cameras, telescopes and solar eclipse glasses to look at the eclipse safely, and protect their eyes. Despite the over- cast skies that partially covered the view of the eclipse, many people were still able to catch the sun being covered by the moon during the eclipse. Some captured photographs and videos of the event to record the rare occurrence, while others simply marveled at the sight.

Enrico Bessolo, a 22-year-old student journalist who traveled from Italy to cover the eclipse said, “I know a person who in 1999 from Italy watched the sun without protection and got almost blind for two days and still have (SIC) permanent damage.” He added, “So I wanted to be safe and that’s why I tried to get best glasses for my eyes to be safe.” He also said, “I tried to contact all the telescopes stores in Italy, in Rome and in Milan because I was in Milan before leaving so I could have one to look at the eclipse.”

This year’s event was the first total eclipse that Bessolo attended. “I have attended 40% partial eclipse I was in my high school, in my second year of high school, but nothing comparable to this. And yes, but we are going to have in 2026 one in Europe, in South and Spain, and in 2027 in North Africa and in a small stripe near my home.”

Hundreds of people cheered and yelled when the eclipse reached its totality at 1:40. For approximately 3 minutes and 15 seconds the North Texas region was dark. During that time people pulled out their phones, took pictures and took videos of the event that happens every other century. People yelled throughout the entire time of darkness and were jubilant.

The eclipse made Bessolo’s experience very nice and he is grateful for it. “This event made me grateful about my interest in astronomy and made me anxious to witness other pages of astronomy history,” he said.
The next total eclipse won’t occur in the United States until Aug. 23, 2044. A total eclipse won’t occur in North Texas again until 2317.

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