The first day of class for UA Rich Mountain on August 21st began with a major celebration and created “umbraphiles” of those in attendance. Approximately 200 students, faculty, and staff gathered for a solar eclipse watch party on the quad at the Ouachita Center on the UA Rich Mountain campus. NASA approved solar viewing glasses were purchased for students, and Mrs. Hosman and Dr. Gyanwali, science faculty, provided information on the causes and to safely view the cosmic event. Solar “snacks” included Milky Way, Starburst, and Moon Pies for participants to enjoy.
The first coast to coast eclipse since 1918; Mena had approximately 85% coverage. While the forecast showed a 35% chance of clouds at 1:15, the time of the height of the coverage, the clouds held off and the viewing was spectacular. This cosmic event provided a rare treat for those viewing what the scientists call the super bowl of the sky.
UA Rich Mountain is already preparing to celebrate the next major U.S. eclipse. In April 2024, Arkansas will have 100% coverage, and the College has plans to expand the celebration.