Total Solar Eclipse: an International Student’s Experience

by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi

A student using eclipse glasses to look at the Eclipse.

Today is the long-awaited day, anticipated for weeks. Under the brilliant April sun, Carbondale thrums with life. Travelers from near and far converge, sharing in the excitement of the impending solar eclipse. The city pulses with energy, the sky is painted a vivid blue after recent rains blessed the land. Artists showcase their creations on booths sprawled across the grass, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.

In a seemingly endless queue, enthusiasts of all ages eagerly make their way towards the entrance, anticipation palpable. Among them, an elderly lady, cane in hand, catches my eye. Despite her slow pace, she maneuvers with determination, inching closer to the stadium entrance.

On the seats, we gather, armed with special glasses to witness the eclipse. As the moment of totality approaches, whispers escalate into fervent exclamations of awe. The announcer’s voice booms over the loudspeaker, declaring a record-breaking four minutes of totality.

A surge of excitement courses through the crowd, reverberating with shouts and applause that rival the intensity of a thrilling football match. In that moment, calm observation gives way to unbridled enthusiasm, as the collective joy of the spectators becomes infectious. Young and old alike are swept up in the exhilarating wave, their shouts of delight filling the atmosphere with pure, unadulterated joy.

People watching the Eclipse from Saluki Stadium.

As the speaker cautions us to protect our eyes with glasses until the total solar eclipse begins, anticipation hangs thick in the air. When the countdown begins, the crowd erupts into a unified roar, echoing the numbers until they reach zero.

A breathtaking transformation unfolds before our eyes: darkness descends, a cool breeze dances through the air, and the temperature plummets. For the first time in my life, I witnessed the awe-inspiring spectacle of a total solar eclipse, its indescribable beauty leaving me spellbound. All around me, voices rise in praise, capturing the magnificence of the moment.

Binoculars, telescopes, and wide-eyed gazes turn skyward, documenting the celestial display with fervor. Amidst the wonder, my friend shares these precious moments with his family in a distant land, bridging the gap with the magic of technology.

Total Solar Eclipse 2024

Silently, I watch as the sun is enveloped by the moon’s shadow, its radiant crown shining more brilliantly than ever. My friend points out the gleaming stars that have emerged in the darkened sky, perhaps Jupiter, Saturn, or Mars, adding to the enchantment of the moment.

Those fleeting four minutes, cloaked in darkness, feel like a divine gift bestowed upon our generation. As the announcer prompts us to wear our glasses once more, I sink in every last second, imprinting the memory of this extraordinary event into my mind forever.

As daylight gradually returns and the audience disperses, some choose to linger, turning the occasion into a spontaneous picnic on the grass. The world seems bathed in a different light, the sky a deeper blue, the grass and spring flowers aglow with newfound radiance.

Returning home, my friends and I eagerly shared the stunning pictures we captured, each image a testament to the unforgettable experience we shared under the shadow of the eclipse.

Interested in attending SIU as an international student? Learn more about the application process here.

You May Also Like
SIU student carrying a laundry basket full of belongings moving into the residence hall (dorm)

Move-in 101

Share via: Facebook LinkedIn Email More You’re all packed and ready to move out on your own. But…
japanese garden on campus

Japanese Tea

Share via: Facebook LinkedIn Email More by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi As I arrived at the Carbondale train station…