caught up in the eclipse
excitement in Lewisburg
and points south
By Matt Hughes and Sherri Kimmel
ucknell physics major Payton
Johnson ’ 19 and her faculty
research adviser, Ned Ladd, spent an
entire summer preparing to collect
astronomical data during the two and
a half minutes of total solar eclipse on
Aug. 21. Still, as they watched the moon
pass completely in front of the sun, the
sky go dark and a few bright stars appear
in the early afternoon sky, the two stood
in wonder for just a moment.
“There was a collective awe for about
five seconds, until we remembered, ‘Oh
yeah, we’ve got to check our equipment; we’ve got to collect our data,’ ”
Ladd, Johnson and six other students
had traveled to Cumberland Mountain
State Park in eastern Tennessee for a
chance to see and collect data about the
eclipse from within the path of totality.
Ladd and Johnson were able to re-
cord high-resolution video of the sun’s
corona at four frames per second, pro-
viding data that may offer significant
evidence for why this halo of roiling
plasma is many thousands of degrees
hotter than the surface of the mother
star. The team is now analyzing the data
and expects the project will continue
for several months.
While the Bucknell crew was down
south at one of the best vantage points
in the nation, there was excitement back
in Lewisburg, where the moon gobbled
a 75 percent chunk out of the sun by the
eclipse’s peak time, 2: 40 p.m.
Along the Susquehanna River bank
on South Front Street members of
the Lewisburg Photo Club, led by
Dan Hyde, a retired computer science
professor, gathered in anticipation.
Several Bucknell faculty and staff
viewed the eclipse through long-lensed cameras with special filters and
even peered through large cardboard
boxes to view a tiny black-and-white
reflection of the eclipse.
Back uphill, physics & astronomy professors hosted an eclipse viewing next to
Academic West attended by hundreds
of students, faculty and staff. In addition to the now-famous black glasses,
attendees could glimpse the eclipse
through telescopes, binoculars and even
a kitchen colander, which cast crescent-shaped beams of light on the ground as
the moon moved over the sun.
The Rev. John Colatch, in his weekly
email message to the campus community, described the “air of celebration”
that accompanied the event. “
[E]very-one seemed caught up in the moment.
I think gatherings such as the one occasioned by the eclipse are important,
because they help bring us together in
a festive atmosphere to celebrate an
For more about the trip, check out the
research team’s blog and Instagram at
Students donned special glasses passed out for free to ensure a safe glimpse of the eclipse.
WWI 100 YEARS LATER
Several news outlets spotlighted
an effort to uncover the lost history
of Bucknellians who served in the
Great War. The Fox News website
published an op-ed about the trip
by Professors David Del Testa, history, and Adrian Mulligan, geography, on Memorial Day, and The
Philadelphia Inquirer published an
essay about the trip by Bucknell
Magazine Editor Sherri Kimmel on
the Fourth of July.
INSIDE NORTH KOREA
Professor Zhiqun Zhu, political science and international relations,
looked behind the rapidly unfolding
North Korean crisis in two op-ed
essays. In U. S. News & World
Report he explained why it’s a myth
that China holds the key to the
North Korean problem, while in The
Hill he observed that festering disagreements could foreshadow conflict between two other powers in
the region, China and Japan.
Bucknell undergraduate Shyla
Lintz ’ 18 was quoted in an NBC
News report about the first global
celebration of International Women
in Engineering Day. “It’s really part
of the process of seeing women
professionally on the same level
that men are perceived,” Lintz, a
civil engineering major, said of the
holiday, June 23.
TOP 10 TOMATO
The Bush Tomato, a plant species
first described by Professor Chris
Martine, biology, was named to the
Top Ten New Species of 2017 list
published by the International
Institute for Species Exploration.
The discovery and its inclusion on
the list was covered by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Martine collected
the species during a field expedition to Mirima National Park in
Bucknell in the News (See more at bucknell.edu/bitn)