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UW students and faculty watch the 2024 solar eclipse with help from the university’s planetarium

A group of people wearing eclipse glasses look up at the sky or lay on the ground, looking up.
Taylor Saunders
UW students and staff gather on Prexy's Pasture to watch the eclipse.

Seven years ago, some residents of the Cowboy state might have had the lucky chance to witness the 2017 total solar eclipse. On April 8, Wyomingites in Laramie had the opportunity to watch a similar event, a partial solar eclipse.

Max Gilbraith is the planetarium coordinator at the University of Wyoming (UW). He set up a table on Prexy’s Pasture, a park on UW’s campus the day of the eclipse. Employees of the planetarium joined him by educating eclipse onlookers during the event.

“Usually, there's some form of eclipse about every 18 months, and it might be a lunar eclipse. But this one's a solar eclipse, which means we are getting it during the daytime, the sun's getting blocked out by the moon,” Gilbraith said.

Taylor Saunders
Gilbraith adjusting the Sunspotter, a wooden telescope made to help view an eclipse on a sheet of paper.

He also set up a Sunspotter, a solar telescope, that allows multiple people to see the eclipse at once. Gilbraith and the planetarium employees also handed out free glasses to help view the partial covering of the sun by the moon.

“Remember to protect your eyes for any future eclipses. Our next North American Eclipse is going to be about 18 years from now. So maybe look into some travel, get your passport and maybe check out Europe or South America for the next eclipses” Gilbraith said.

The next continental North American solar eclipse will take place on Aug. 23, 2044.

Originally from Casper, Wyoming, Taylor moved to Laramie, Wyoming in the fall of 2020. She is a fourth-year journalism major with a minor in jazz at the University of Wyoming. She has participated in many musical ensembles on campus, including the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and the Western Thunder Marching Band. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games, watching cartoons, camping, and swimming.

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