Monday, September 28, 2015

New England College Students Take A Break To Enjoy The Lunar Eclipse

Mary Majerus-Collins /
The supermoon in the process of a lunar eclipse, as seen from the Middlebury College Observatory in Middlebury, Vermont.

By Kiernan Majerus-Collins
LEWISTON, Maine, U.S.A. – There is one spot on the campus of Bates College where you can really see the stars. A small school in suburban Maine, Bates is off the beaten path, but not far enough to avoid the bright lights of civilization. But on top of Mount David, a tall outcropping on the edge of campus, it is dark enough to get a partial sense of the majesty of the night sky.

Thus, when celestial events are on the way, many students here have the same idea:  hike Mount David and look to the heavens. The trek up is steep but short, and the way is lit by dozens of smartphone flashlights shining in the darkness. 
Sunday night, students found their way to Mount David to get a view of the “super blood moon.”
At the top, there was the babble of about 100 students sitting on the rocky summit. Some were laughing, some drinking or smoking, some were simply looking up at the sky.
The lunar eclipse was clearly visible, but so too was the Big Dipper, on the northern horizon. 
As the night wore on, students would come and go, having seen their fill and growing cold in the autumn air.
The way down is more treacherous, and movement is slow. At the bottom awaits a return to college life – the late nights and early classes, the football games and term papers – but just for a few minutes, we stopped, and gazed up at the moon.
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