An eclipse darkened the California sky yesterday afternoon, and San Luis Obispo residents were able to see the shadowed moon, surrounded by a “ring of fire,” shortly before sunset.
The moon passing in front of the sun for a short period of time created the eclipse — the first of its kind in more than a decade for the western United States, according to NASA’s website on the eclipse.
The eclipse was an annular one, though, meaning that the sun was not entirely darkened by the moon.
Yesterday the moon passed through apogee, or the farthest point in its orbit from the Earth, so the moon was relatively small in comparison to the sun, allowing for an abnormally large amount of the sun, known as a “ring of fire,” to be seen, according to NASA. The antumbra, or shadow cast by the moon, was visible itself throughout Asia and parts of North America.
The eclipse began its trip in China yesterday, before passing over Japan and the Pacific Ocean to reach northern California. It then dipped down toward New Mexico and Texas, while being partially visible in much of the western United States. Eventually, it was no longer visible as the sun set and the moon continued its orbit, according to NASA.
At Cal Poly, students gathered at the University Union (UU) Plaza to watch the eclipse, which began at 5:21 p.m., with maximum eclipse at 6:36 p.m.
The solar eclipse was the first one for many of the Cal Poly students, such as electrical engineering freshman Chris Boyer.
“I’ve never seen one before, so this is pretty awesome,” Boyer said.
Materials engineering freshman Alex Miller fashioned a camera obscura out of a piece of paper to view a projection of the eclipse. His father taught him to make the device.
Though the public is warned not to look at an eclipse directly, many students found out about it last minute, and came unprepared to view, agribusiness freshman Brooke Bradshaw said. Bradshaw and friends instead squinted at the sun for short periods of time to see it, she said.
The event was awe-inspiring, though, for Bradshaw, who said she was impressed by the magnitude of the eclipse.
“It kind of reminds you that, you’re Earth, and you’re small,” Bradshaw said.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since publication. We originally published electrical engineering freshman Chris Boyer was in the UU for a poetry reading, which he was not. We apologize for any confusion.