The August 21 Eclipse as Seen at Williams College

Though far from the band of totality, our rooftop observatory was host to a crowd of excited eclipse watchers. More than 150 people turned out to view the sun as it was 65% covered by the moon on August 21. Steve Souza, Observatory Supervisor, set up several telescopes, including a “sun funnel” that projected the eclipse onto a white screen viewable by many people at once. Guiding attendees through the event were Souza, aided by Prof. Karen Kwitter, Prof. Mea Cook of Geosciences, and Prof. Mihai Stoicu of Math/Stats. Officer Mark Lancia of CSS, and Michele Rech, DAA, helped to keep things running smoothly.

Kwitter looks on as an observer peers through a telescope equipped with a filter passing only red H-alpha light from hydrogen gas. Others are watching the image on the “sun funnel” which projects a telescope image onto a screen (protruding to the left, just above the observer). (photo: Paula Consolini)

iPhone picture through the telescope eyepiece of the H-alpha eclipse image. (photo: Mihai Stoicu)

iPhone picture through the eyepiece of a different telescope equipped with a neutral density filter. Several sunspots (not seen in this saturated image) were visible by eye through the telescope. (photo: Mihai Stoicu)

Multiple images of the partially-eclipsed sun are visible through holes in the observatory ladder steps, each hole acting as a pinhole camera. (photo: Karen Kwitter)

Williams Weather Station data showing the drop in air temperature during the eclipse. (photo: Mea Cook)

Additional weather data from the Astronomy rooftop weather station. Note, in addition to the temperature drop (second graph, dark blue line), the rise in relative humidity (fourth graph down, in green ) during the eclipse. (photo: Steve Souza)