Families View Eclipse Together at MSU Observatory

Aug 21, 2017

Hundreds of students and families descended on the lawn of the Michigan State University Observatory to observe the solar eclipse. 


Staring into the heavens with special solar sunglasses, Holt High School student Eli Sharkey and his younger sister Faith described the moon covering the sun.

"[It looks] kinda like an orange pacman!," said Eli. 

"It kinda look like a wheel of cheese that had a little chunk cut out of it," remarked Faith.

Deena Brunstein of Holt looks into her homemade solar eclipse kit.
Credit Reginald Hardwick / WKAR Public Media

Their grandmother Deena loved sharing this moment with family. She went more traditional with her viewing, cutting a pin-sized hole in a cereal box and peering inside for the view.

"Great way to learn about the world," said Deena. "[It's] not something that you normally see."

Sharing this moment with strangers made the moment special for Rebecca Ammon of East Lansing, who brought a home made kit. She felt a sense of community outside of the observatory.

"To be out here – I almost cried," said Ammon. "It gave me faith in humanity to see so many people of every color, every background, every clothing style even."

Lynette Griffin brought her son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. 

Lynnette Griffin looks at the solar eclipse with her son.
Credit Reginald Hardwick / WKAR Public Media

"[It] looks like the moon but its brighter and more yellow," said Griffin. "It makes us kinda feel insignificant when you realize things can change. The moon is going in front of the sun."

Sharing this moment with strangers made the moment special for Rebecca Ammon of East Lansing, who brought a home made kit. She felt a sense of community outside of the observatory.

"To be out here – I almost cried," said Ammon. "It gave me faith in humanity to see so many people of every color, every background, every clothing style even."

MSU Observatory representative Huei Sears just graduated with degrees in astrophysics and advanced mathematics. She was thrilled to see so many young people gazing at the heavens.

"Science is very important and still very appreciated in our society," said Sears. "It makes me really proud to see so many children here and so many  families encouraging their children to learn about space and learn about the sun."

Mother and daughter (left) receive special glasses to look at the solar eclipse from volunteer (right) at MSU Observatory on August 21, 2017.
Credit Reginald Hardwick / WKAR Public Media

Millions of Americans gazed in wonder at the cosmic spectacle, with the best seats along the so-called path of totality that raced 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) across the continent from Oregon to South Carolina.

The path of totality, where the sun was 100 percent obscured by the moon, was just 60 to 70 miles (96 to 113 kilometers) wide. 

Michigan, like the rest of North America was treated to a partial eclipse, as were Central America and the upper reaches of South America.