Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Grammy-worthy talent coming to 45th Sunset Concert Series beginning June 13
Grammy-worthy talent coming to 45th Sunset Concert Series beginning June 13
By Christi Mathis, SIU Communications • May 21, 2024

It’s the 45th season for one of Southern Illinois’ favorite summer traditions – the Sunset Concert Series – and this year’s exciting...

Saluki softball huddles together before facing the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Regional May 17, 2024 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo provided by Saluki Athletics
Salukis split doubleheader, advance to first Regional final since 2003
By Ryan Grieser, Sports Reporter • May 18, 2024

The SIU softball team is headed to its second-ever NCAA Regional final after beating California in back-to-back days in the Baton Rouge Regional...

Saluki softball huddles together before facing the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Regional May 17, 2024 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo provided by Saluki Athletics
Groff twins, defense send SIU to NCAA regional semifinals
By Ryan Grieser, Sports Reporter • May 17, 2024

Defense was the name of the game Friday as the SIU softball team took down the Cal Bears in the first round of NCAA Regionals in Baton Rouge,...

A collective experience from a first person perspective 

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Daylin Williams
Annalise Schmidt plays alongside the SIU marching band plays at Southern Illinois Crossroads Eclipse Festival April 8, 2024 at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Illinois. [email protected]

In the final moment before totality, as the moon slowly moved in front of the sun, I looked around the Saluki Stadium. The sky had rapidly darkened, casting a shadow over the landscape and a gentle coolness chilled the air, sending a shiver of anticipation through the crowd. The stadium was alive with energy, laughter and excited chatter echoing all around. Faces were turned upwards, eyes shielded behind eclipse glasses, as we awaited the moment when day turned to night, when the sun was momentarily obscured by the moon’s shadow. 

 

The eclipse reached its peak at 1:59 p.m. Monday, bathing the stadium in a surreal twilight. It was as if time itself paused, allowing me to witness this celestial dance between the Earth, the moon, and the sun. In that moment, I felt a connection to the universe, just a tiny part of something infinitely grander than myself. 

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It was a moment of unity and shared wonder, all of us waiting together under the vast expanse of the darkening sky.

 

All weekend, people on campus and all across the country had prepared for these few minutes. I spent the weekend with the SIU marching band playing space-themed music. Dancers, singers and cheerleaders joined us, learning choreography that was paired with a giant inflatable sun, moon and Earth.

 

It was a whirlwind of activity as we worked tirelessly to bring everything together in just a single weekend. We meticulously fine-tuned choreography, re-learned newly transposed music and ensured every detail was perfect for the final performance. Despite the challenges, our collaborative effort prevailed, and in under three days, we were ready to take center stage and bring our celestial vision to life.

 

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Our aim was to offer entertainment for every individual in the stadium eagerly awaiting the moment of totality. With the stadium opening for ticket holders at 11:00 in the morning, we had nearly three hours to fill. Despite the prospect of a long day standing in the sun, we were all determined to make the most of it. 

 

Both the marching and pep band seasons have already ended, so it was a great opportunity to spend time with the friends I have gained this year. After the intensity and dedication required for performances throughout the season, it was a welcome change of pace to have some downtime together between playing. These moments allowed us to deepen our connections and strengthen our bonds, reminding us of the camaraderie and friendship that extends beyond the field or the stage.

Being on the field also provided me with the opportunity to interact with scientists and educators who shared their knowledge about eclipses with the wider community. It was inspiring to see experts from various fields, such as astronomy and physics, passionately educating spectators about the science behind the eclipse. Through their presentations and discussions, I gained a deeper understanding of celestial phenomena and their impact on our world. 

 

My hope is that it encourages people of all different backgrounds to be more curious about space in general, just as it has sparked within me. This newfound curiosity has the potential to lead to a greater appreciation for the world around us and a desire to learn more about the forces that shape our universe. Whether it’s through reading books, attending lectures or participating in citizen science projects, I envision people embarking on a journey of discovery, fueled by the awe-inspiring experience of the eclipse. 

 

The most significant moment for me during the event was the realization of just how many people had traveled to Carbondale to witness the total solar eclipse. Back in the newsroom later, I heard stories of all of the different people that my coworkers got to meet and talk to. 

 

I myself saw so many others share that same sense of wonder and excitement in the stadium. It filled me with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the rare opportunity to witness such a celestial spectacle. As I looked around at the sea of faces gathered, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own past eclipse experience and how it differed from this one. 

 

The first eclipse I witnessed was in 2017, back home in northern Illinois. At that time, I remember feeling slightly disappointed. Cloud coverage was high and totality was only at 90 percent. Full totality on a day with clear skies offered a completely different experience. 

 

I was shocked by how dark the sky got at the very first second of totality. This was a vast contrast from my previous experience. My mom, who watched the eclipse at home again this year, sent me a picture of the moment of most coverage where it was still very bright outside. The difference was striking. Back home, even at the peak of the eclipse, there was still significant daylight, but here in Carbondale, the sky had transformed into a deep twilight within moments of totality. It was a vivid reminder of the impact of location and weather conditions on the viewing experience. Standing under the darkened sky, I was very grateful for the clear weather that allowed us to witness the eclipse in all its splendor.

 

This eclipse event was undeniably one for the books—an unforgettable blend of clear skies, shared excitement and the sheer wonder of totality. It’s a memory that will stay with me for years, serving as a testament to the beauty of the universe and the power of collective human experience. 

 

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