Partial solar eclipse draws crowd to UNL parking garage
For only being 4 and a half, Ryder Fass knows all about the solar system and black holes.
His mom, Angie, said he loves learning and a lot of what he knows comes from library books.
“Black holes!” he said when asked about his favorite astronomical subject.
Ryder and Angie were two of the many people who attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s public solar eclipse viewing event on Oct. 23 on the roof of the Stadium Drive parking garage.
Lines formed behind telescopes provided by UNL’s physics and astronomy department to see the partial solar eclipse. Faculty manned the telescopes so they could make adjustments for optimal viewing and to answer questions.
When not looking through a telescope, many people used safety glasses, also provided by the department, to view the eclipse.
Steve Ducharme, a professor in UNL’s department of physics and astronomy, said that solar eclipses occur twice a year and that the phenomena can only be seen from certain places in the world.
To view a full or partial eclipse depends on where the moon’s shadow, or umbra, strikes the Earth. Areas inside the shadow will see the eclipse. Partial eclipses are seen from the outer edge of the umbra called the penumbra.
Bonnie Cain said she and her husband, Rick traveled from Tulsa to visit their daughter and grandchildren, who live in Lincoln.
“We saw it in the newspaper and thought we should come out and see it,” Cain said.
The partial eclipse could be seen in Lincoln from 4:30 p.m. until sunset.
UNL professor Michael Sibbernsen said Nebraska will see a total solar eclipse in 2017.
“A lot of people have been waiting decades (to see one),” Sibbernsen said. “This is just a sneak peek.”