Overcast weather prevents clear viewing of eclipse at Cal Poly

Many still excited to briefly see celestial event

Overcast conditions prevents clear...

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A stubborn overcast sky that refused to clear did little to dampen the spirits of those who came out to Cal Poly to view the eclipse.

On Monday, the university invited students, as well as members of the public, to a viewing party of the rare celestial event.

At least 200 people gathered outside the Baker Center for Science and Mathematics starting at 9 a.m.

Unfortunately for the enthusiastic crowd, the weather was uncooperative. A thick sky of gray clouds obscured the eclipse for all but a few seconds.

"It came out twice momentarily. Just got to see a little snippet of it," said Donna Massicotte.

With the weather preventing clear viewing, the university quickly came up with a contingency plan to move people indoors to watch a national broadcast livestreaming online.

"We saw all these people here and they were disappointed that nothing could be seen, said Cal Poly physics and astronomy professor Vardha Bennert. "So I'm really glad that we could quickly improvise and that those were were free."

At one point, the sky briefly opened just enough for many who were still waiting outside, with enough clearing to provide them with a quick view of the eclipse.

"I had goosebumps going up my arms," said Cal Poly senior Mikaela Garduno. "Everyone was screaming and a roar of excitement. It was really cool.

However, no sooner had the clouds parted to reveal the partial eclipse when they quickly covered it back up.

"It was a bummer," said Massicotte. "It would have been nice if it was clear, but it was still fun."

While everyone was disappointed in the cloud cover, many like Massicotte and Garduno, still said they enjoyed the all-too-brief experience.

"It would have been nice if it had been clear, but that's okay," said Susan Schaefer, visiting from San Diego. "It's so exciting and amazing. It's one of the wonders of the world."

Fortunately, for those who were disappointed in the weather, the wait for the next total solar eclipse will be a relatively short one.

"In seven years there will be another total one that is visible in the United States and I believe also in Northern California, so it will be easier to see it if we want," said Bennert.

The next total solar eclipse will take place on Monday, April 8, 2024.

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