Many of you heard about the total lunar eclipse the morning of Oct. 7. Christenberry Planetarium director David Weigel built a show describing the event and had about 65 attendees for that the night before. The real excitement came in the morning as we hosted a viewing event in the observatory on the roof of Brooks Hall. When we arrived at 3 a.m. there were already 15-20 students eager to participate.
The skies were generally clear for the next couple of hours and we got to see the action up until just before totality. Then the clouds moved in and we did not see much of the moon while it was in its blood red state, fully eclipsed. So, there was a little disappointment over that but mostly everyone was glad they had come. When we lost sight of the moon, we turned our attention to Jupiter and other sights. We saw some great views of Jupiter and four of its moons.
We were at the observatory for over three hours and for most of that time there were 30-40 people there. We estimate that we had at least 60 unique visitors. Maybe 10 or so were non-Samford folks who had come because of publicity on the Facebook page and the like. A couple of students even brought sleeping bags and camped under the stars for a while. All were very excited and many of them lined up to take pictures with their phones through the telescope. ABC 33/40 was there for over two hours with a live feed.
Excitement is building and students are genuinely interested in what’s happening!