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Day turns to darkness as MUSC celebrates total solar eclipse

Campus celebrates the unusual chance to see a total solar eclipse

crowd at event
Eclipse glasses were raised to the sky as people from across the MUSC campus gathered to witness the total solar eclipse. Photos by Dawn Brazell
Helen Adams | | August 21, 2017

People cheered as a total solar eclipse temporarily darkened the afternoon sky at the Medical University of South Carolina. It wasn’t dark for long – “totality,” the period when the moon completely obscured the sun – was brief. It was also cloudy, and there was lightning from an approaching storm. But the crowd on the lawn outside the Drug Discovery Building seemed to love it.

Eclipse darkness

The skies just after 2:45 in the afternoon were dark as the moon covered the sun.

Cheryl Kennedy, a unit secretary in the surgical trauma intensive care at MUSC Health, came to campus on her day off to see it. “After tracking it on the NASA map, this was the best spot. The camaraderie is great. We can be friends and be social, rather than being on social media.”

Cheryl Kennedy

Cheryl Kennedy, right, says she loved the sense of camaraderie viewing the eclipse at MUSC brought her.

Pediatric-hematology oncology resident Majd Ghanim was joined by his wife Sawsan and their 15-month-old daughter Zaina for the occasion. “I think it’s awesome that MUSC is hosting such an event where you don’t have to take the day off and go somewhere else.”

Majd Ghanim was joined by his wife Sawsan  Zaina

Family time: Majd Ghanim, his wife Sawsan and their 15-month-old daughter Zaina enjoy the eclipse together.

Certified registered nurse anesthetist Ben Sokol came to the MUSC event with colleagues from interventional radiology. They and others at the eclipse viewing event were pleasantly surprised they were able to be there. “It’s people just helping each other out and giving each other breaks so everybody can come out and see the experience,” Sokol said.

interventional radiology viewers

Interventional radiology nurses, including Ben Sokol, center, were happy they were able to find time to see the eclipse.

Pediatrician and professor Rita Ryan, who watched the eclipse with neonatologist Lakshmi Katikaneni and medical resident Eric Ward, agreed. “All of us are on service today, so we’re very lucky the unit’s not too crazy. Some other people are there so we could be out here, which was so nice of them. I’m glad MUSC did this.”

people handing out Moon Pies

Snacks at the eclipse event included, of course, Moon Pies.

College of Graduate Studies student Barbara Marebwa, who’s from Kenya, summed up the occasion this way: “Super cool."

people watching eclipse

Darkness from the eclipse was brief but memorable, and people took off their eclipse glasses to witness it.

Partial list of music played at the MUSC eclipse viewing event

  • House of the Rising Sun 
  • Moon River 
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart
  • Blinded by the Light 
  • Black Hole Sun
  • Don't Let the Sun go Down on Me
  • Here Comes the Sun
  • Dancing In The Moonlight
  • Moondance
  • Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

(List courtesy of MUSC Information Solutions intern William Riddle)

Watch a time-lapse video



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