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University community comes together to watch solar eclipse

Student volunteers distributed glasses for safe viewing

Students on the green gathered to watch the eclipse, enjoy the temperate weather and learn more about astronomy.
Students on the green gathered to watch the eclipse, enjoy the temperate weather and learn more about astronomy.

Students flooded onto the Main Green as 2:15 p.m. approached and Rhode Island’s partial solar eclipse began. 

At 3:29, when the eclipse reached the point of highest coverage visible from Providence, a cheer rippled across the lawn.

Student volunteers from the University’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Physics helped distribute eclipse glasses for safe viewing of the eclipse. 

Ralph Milliken, an associate professor of earth, environmental and planetary sciences and director of NASA R.I.’s Space Grant Program and Consortium, joined the department’s “Eclipse Team,” answering questions and supervising the enthusiastic scene on the green.


According to Milliken, it’s a rare and precious phenomenon that Rhode Island is adjacent to the path of a total eclipse. “It's just great to have events like this, because it provides an opportunity to bring people from all aspects of the community together,” he said. 

Students rejoiced in the warm spring weather and expressed a lot of excitement about the approaching eclipse. “The beautiful sun and beautiful weather” brought Matteo Papadopoulos ’26 to the green with friends. 

“This is the most packed Main Green I’ve seen since 4/20 last year,” he said. 

While Dhruv Raghavan ’27 was on the green mainly for the nice weather, he was still excited to see a partial eclipse for the first time.

This was also the first time Chloe Jazzy Lau ’27 saw a partial eclipse. “The eclipse is a really cool once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. 

“We really are only going to get to see this in North America every 20 or 40 years. I'm excited to actually be able to look at this eclipse and understand what's happening and why we're seeing this,” said Anna Bencke ’24. She and other physics students used telescopes and spotters to better observe the eclipse.

The rarity of the eclipse also appealed to Jairus Lamb GS and Tati Lamb, who said they are new to Providence and enjoyed their first time taking in the University’s greenery. For Tati Lamb, the eclipse is a symbol of “rebirth, and the age of Aquarius.”

It was Jairus Lamb’s first eclipse, and as a self-proclaimed “astronomy nerd,” he was eager to witness the “maybe once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.”


“I think the thing that makes it special is just that we happen to be here as humans on this planet at this particular moment in time where we do have total solar eclipse events like this, and it's not something that we'll always have around,” Milliken said, referencing the moon’s slow departure from Earth’s gravitational pull. “So I think everybody should enjoy it while they can.”

“The eclipse is bringing everyone together,” said Shiv Prasad ’27. 

“Although the moon can get in the way of the sun's light, nothing could get in the way of Brown’s sense of community,” agreed his friend Ross Goldbaum ’27.

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Jaanu Ramesh

Ranjana “Jaanu” Ramesh is a Bruno Brief-er, photographer and Senior Staff Writer covering science & research. She loves service, empathetic medicine and working with kids. When not writing or studying comp neuro, Jaanu is outside, reading, skiing, or observing Providence wildlife (ie: squirrels).

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