Sky-watching at SMU was awesome!

The telescopes and the viewing screens on campus delivered big. But sharing the April 8 total solar eclipse with a few thousand friends was what made a dramatic experience truly unforgettable. 

DALLAS (SMU) – Eclipse-anticipating crowds started gathering before noon on the lawn in front of iconic Dallas Hall. The predicted cloud cover was easing up, and the sun was starting to push through with moments of brilliant intensity.

The moon began moving in front of the sun at 12:23 p.m. and each time the clouds broke, cheers erupted from the crowd that eventually grew to around 4,000 on the main quad. Others gathered in smaller groups across the campus, including on the plaza surrounding the Val and Frank Late Fountain behind Dedman Life Sciences Building, near Hughes-Trigg Student Center, and on the sculpture plaza of the Meadows Museum.

Physics Department faculty set up telescopes to project images of the progressing eclipse onto a screen inside Dallas Hall as well as onto video monitors at the Late Fountain. Arriving with pillows, blankets, lawn chairs and dogs, the sky-watchers reveled in the moment and the ability to share it with those around them.

As the moon continued its journey, the temperature dropped noticeably and the wind picked up – fully predicted, but slightly hair-raising, just the same. And when the moon slid completely across the face of the sun at 1:40 p.m., dropping the campus into sudden and near-total darkness, it was nothing short of stunning. Shouts and whoops went up across the crowd, with tears staining many of the upturned faces.

Taking to social media, SMU students made it clear that this was a day they would remember:

“It was amazing on the Hilltop! ❤️💙”

“I absolutely love when a whole community comes together like that. Makes it even more special to share this incredible scene with others.”

“The eclipse completely overdelivered today… It was much more than I expected! Incredible experience.”

“No better community than SMU – well done PONIES!”

“Thank you for everyone who made it such a special event! ❤️💙”