News, On Campus

Students Gather on Bapst Lawn at 5 A.M. for Lunar Eclipse Viewing

Cloaked under a dawn sky at 5 a.m., around 50 members of the Boston College community gathered on the Bapst lawn to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse on Tuesday.

“Terry Wang has a telescope, and he sent me an email on Sunday night saying, ‘Why don’t we have a little viewing of the moon?’” said Mike Graf, chairperson of BC’s physics department. “We sent out some emails—I expected about eight or 10 lonely souls to show up at 5 a.m., and we have to be about 50.”

Wang, a physics major who organized the event, said he and his high school classmates often used to observe the night sky in their astronomy club.

“I feel like it’s also my responsibility to organize such events in BC as well,” Wang, MCAS ’26, said. “Finally, we’ve managed to get two telescopes so everyone can share a piece.”

With the help of BC’s physics department, O’Neill Library, and his friends, Wang said he organized the eclipse viewing in only three days.

Antonio Zilvetti, MCAS ’26, said he found out about the eclipse viewing from his leader in EcoPledge—a sustainability club at BC. It was his interest in astronomy that propelled him to get out of bed to see it, he said.

“I’ve kind of always been interested in astronomy but really not ever … able to express that kind of interest,” Zilvetti said. “You can see the moon and stars sometimes depending on which city or this is just something different.”

Avery Suza, MCAS ’26, said although he still does not completely understand what a lunar eclipse is, his friends inspired him to attend the viewing.

“I was in physics lecture, and my professor … told us in class that there is [a] watch event going on, and I was like, ‘Okay, cool. I’m gonna go to this thing,’” Suza said. “So the only reason why I woke up early is because my friends showed up, but it’s kind of worth it. I think it’s really pretty.”

Though Suza said he still does not really understand what causes a lunar eclipse, it was “cool” to see.

“I don’t know why it turns red,” Suza said. “I’m still confused about that, [but] I’ve never seen a lunar eclipse before. I’ve always seen a solar eclipse, so this is just really cool.”

Although lunar eclipses are not extraordinarily uncommon—the next one is in 2025—the beautiful, clear night skies made Tuesday morning ideal for viewing the blood moon eclipse, Graf said.

“The next viewable one will be in about three years, so it’s not super uncommon—it’s not a Halley’s Comet kind of thing every 76 years, but it is relatively uncommon, and it’s a beautiful night,” Graf said. “Who knows what it’ll be in three years—maybe it’s cloudy or rainy. So everything lined up, literally and figuratively for this viewing.”

November 10, 2022