Daemen to Experience its First Total Solar Eclipse

By Cadence Russell, editor-in-chief

It’s been all over the news for months, April 8 is the total solar eclipse. Some 500,000 to 1 million visitors are expected to travel to Buffalo. Over 50 eclipse-themed events and counting are happening in the region. All Buffalo public schools have closed, along with Buffalo State, University at Buffalo, and Daemen University.

“What’s exciting about this is that Buffalo is in the perfect location to see the moon totally eclipse the sun. So the shadow of the moon is totally in front of the sun, which means it’s going to be dark in the middle of the day,” Dr. Hannah Attard, assistant professor of physics said.

Starting at 3:18 pm, the moon will move in front of the sun it will become dark for 3 minutes and 38 seconds. The partial eclipse begins at 2:04 pm and ends at 4:32 pm as the moon moves across the face of the sun. 

“One thing is definitely that its rarity gives it value,” senior biology major Charsie Yox said. “If this occurred every year or even every 5 years I doubt this would be as big of an event as it is. These are difficult to find as some paths of totality are over oceans and they occur every day in the middle of space.”

Yox isn’t wrong, a path of totality over land is rare, and a path over Buffalo is rarer. The last total solar eclipse in Buffalo was nearly a century ago, on January 24, 1925. That was 22 years before Daemen was founded. The moon has to be aligned perfectly with the sun, or it’ll create a partial eclipse. Secondly, if the moon is too far from Earth, it won’t totally block the sun’s rays and will create an annular eclipse

“I mean, I don’t think you and I are ever going to be able to see something like this again,” Robert Mead-Colegrove, assistant dean for campus safety and operations said.

There’s no bad viewing location in Buffalo. Because of the expected volume of visitors, local authorities are recommending people to gather supplies beforehand and to stay off the roads, and treat the eclipse like you would treat a blizzard.

“We’ve had major events tons of times,” Mead-Colegrove said. “But we have an emergency response team and an emergency response plan. We use what’s called NIMS and it’s the National Incident Command Management System.” 

Unlike most events, this is pre-planned. Daemen is asking students not to invite guests to campus during the eclipse because of the expected strain on local roadways and communication towers. Campus Safety is available 24/7.

For students on campus, the best viewing location will be Saffrin Public Square, looking towards Main Street. To actually view the eclipse, solar eclipse glasses that comply with ISO 12312-2 international standards are required, or risk serious eye injury. 

“I think the number one thing to know is safety. And I know people might say well, why do I have to wear the glasses if the sun has been partially obscured during the partial solar eclipse?” Attard said. “But it’s a little bit darker so your eyes aren’t going to contract necessarily as much. So that actually makes it very dangerous.”

If you don’t have glasses, you can view the eclipse indirectly through a pinhole projector or other methods. The only time it is safe to take off your glasses is during totality when you can no longer see the sun through eclipse glasses or solar viewers. 

“Even if it’s cloudy, we will still experience totality. Fingers crossed everyone that it’s not cloudy,” Attard said.

Even with clouds, it will still get dark and the temperature will drop several degrees. Crickets might start coming out like they would at night and depending on where you are located, you may get a cool breeze. 

“We all have things to do. But this is so rare that it’s happening here and we’re just lucky enough for it to be here. Take a minute a couple minutes out of your day to try to experience it,” Attard said. 

“I think people can get very caught up in their day-to-day lives and forget about what life is,” Yox said. “This eclipse reminds me of where I am and the fact that I am alive and physically here. I stand on Earth, I am part of this solar system that is part of this galaxy. Space is massive and this eclipse is a small taste of the endless wonders it contains.”

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