Solar spectacle coincides with SU School of Sciences Spring Spectacular 

The two can’t-miss events both took place on Owings Mills North Campus today April 8 from 2-4 p.m.
Students gathered for the festivities outside of the Manning Academic Center, commemorating the rare solar eclipse
Students gathered for the festivities outside of the Manning Academic Center, commemorating the rare solar eclipse
Micah Ernest

While some spectators fear a plague of earthquakes and the end of the world as we know it, up to 3.7 million others traveled from all over the country to view the 2024 solar eclipse in totality from within a thin strip of the American Midwest.

A more modest gathering of 250 to 300 students, faculty and staff gathered just north of the Manning Academic Complex at Stevenson to take part in the School of Sciences Spring Spectacular. Food, science demonstrations, and free eclipse glasses were available from 2-4 p.m.

From about 2:05 to 3:21 p.m., the solar eclipse slowly approached its peak where in Maryland, the moon covered up to 90% of our view of the sun. 

Physics Professor Neal Miller spent the day attending the telescope for interested students to catch a once-in-a-lifetime view of the 2024 solar eclipse (Micah Ernest)

At the event’s eighth annual celebration, faculty and students alike were thrilled for the opportunity to celebrate science outside of the typical classroom setting. 

“Most of the time students interact with math and science inside the classroom and a lot of the beauty of STEM is left to the imagination,” Associate Professor of Mathematics Benjamin Wilson said. 

The solar eclipse this afternoon, April 8, might have been the last one easily visible in Maryland for anywhere between 20 and 50 years, depending on the visibility of the next projected eclipse in 2045. 

Along with popcorn, ice cream, glass art, and a host of other fun activities was a large telescope manned by Stevenson Professor of Physics Neal Miller. The telescope was specially configured to be able to view the eclipse. For Miller and other enthusiastic scientists around the world, this is a fascinating event because so many factors have to happen in order for us to view the eclipse.

“When the moon is in its orbit going around the earth and when it goes in front of the sun, it blocks the sun,” Miller said. “It is such a rare occurrence because the moon is not very large, and it can only occur in the new phase. We are lucky today that a lot of America gets to view the eclipse in its totality, and here in Maryland at about 90% coverage.”

“It’s the middle of the day, but it looks like sundown”

— Kamirah Smith

Spread throughout the field beside the MAC were people wearing some interesting looking shades. These weren’t just any sunglasses. They were made of cardboard and specifically designed for eclipses by meeting a standard set by the International Organization for Standardization in order to ensure that viewers’ eyes are protected.

“You think that because the moon is covering up to 90% of the sun that you are good to look at it,” Miller said. “The problem is that the surface brightness hasn’t changed, the sun is every bit as bright as if it wasn’t covered, there is just less area covered, but it can still damage the eyes.”

Students were loving not only the rare event in the sky, but the celebration the School of Sciences put on, making it a true day to remember at Owings Mills North campus.

“It’s only 3:00 and it’s getting darker and darker as the day goes on which I think is really cool. It kind of gives an eerie feeling out here,” Stevenson senior Dez Myers said. “Everybody is out here having a good time though. We’re throwing frisbees, got the glasses out, eating candy, so it’s a vibe.”

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About the Contributors
Micah Ernest
Micah Ernest, Editor in Chief
Micah is a senior from Bel Air, Maryland, and he'll be serving as the Villager's editor in chief for 2023-24. He is a business communication major with minors in entrepreneurship/small business development and management/organizational leadership. He worked as a reporter for the Villager in Spring 2023. Micah is also a member of both Stevenson men's beach and indoor volleyball teams. After college, Micah hopes to one day pursue a career in journalism in the music beat or as an investigative reporter in politics or world news. After a late introduction to journalism as a junior in college, he has rapidly grown passionate about telling people's stories and providing the public with crucial information. Micah is also interested in entrepreneurship and pursuing a career in music-related industries.
Kevin Kouchoukos
Kevin Kouchoukos, Sports Reporter
Kevin is a sophomore communication studies major with a minor in marketing from Nottingham, New Hampshire. He wants to pursue a career in sports media and PR. Outside of The Villager, Kevin also works with the athletic communications department. He is also a member of the Stevenson men's beach and indoor volleyball teams. Kevin also has a cockapoo named Wrigley and two cats named Pumpkin and Brian.
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