Hamilton College and the rest of Upstate New York had a front-row seat to the biggest astronomical event of the year: the Great American Solar Eclipse. Thanks to many organizers, more than 1,000 members of the College community got to revel in the exciting moment.

While Clinton experienced 99.4% eclipse coverage, totality was just miles away. Knowing that meant the difference between experiencing night and day, Associate Professor of Instruction for Physics Adam Lark wanted as many people as possible to experience this rare celestial event. Lark spent more than a year planning with colleagues from his department and across campus. As a result, two buses filled with students, faculty, and staff departed campus hours before the eclipse began destined for Hamilton’s totality event at White-Otter Fish & Game Club in Woodgate, N.Y. In all, more than 800 campus community members went to Woodgate and experienced totality.

“I can’t see it getting quite better than this even after [the eclipse] starts happening ... I like that there are parents, kids, adults, and professors alike.” - Caroline Goodnow ’26

Students played games, hiked, and threw Frisbees in the hours leading up to the skies darkening. “That is one thing that I love about these big events in astronomy: it brings everyone together,” Lark said. “The camaraderie was palpable.”

While clouds obscuring the sun prevented the group from seeing the corona, that didn’t take away from an awe-inspiring moment for all. A brief period of silence fell over the spectators as their surroundings reached the darkest point, and then an uproar of cheers came from every part of the crowd as the moment arrived and Lark proclaimed, “Totality!”


That is one thing that I love about these big events in astronomy: it brings everyone together. The camaraderie was palpable.

Adam Lark Associate Professor of Instruction for Physics  Adam Lark at the Peters Observatory

Attending the event in the Adirondacks was a last-minute decision for Charlotte Post ’27 and her friends. “We ended up actually taking an Uber here,” she said. “We are so glad we came though.”

Leah Croke ’24 added, “It was nice to see the Hamilton community all gathered in one space up in Woodgate.”

Back on the Hill, hundreds spent part of the afternoon on the steps of Burke Library watching as the Dark Side took over the Light Side at an event hosted by the team from Library and Information Technology Services (LITS). Attendees enjoyed access to telescopes and glasses while enjoying snacks, including a famous treat that got its start right in Utica: a special edition half-moon cookie from Holland Farms.

For Lark, the historic event inspired curiosity and intrigue among campus community members, no matter where they viewed the eclipse from.

“It is rare that a moment arises and everyone is suddenly interested and wanting to know about your science. I love that, for a brief moment, I got to share my passion for astronomy with the Hamilton community,” Lark said. “I hope this eclipse might ignite a passion for astronomy in some of our students that they can bring with them for the rest of their lives.”

While the next total solar eclipse will be visible in the Empire State in 2079, College Hill won’t experience totality any time before 2200.

Related News

Adam Lark, Ryan Hunt '23,Alvaro Marin Miralles ’23

Exploring Exoplanets’ Existence

As the sun comes out and the stars start to fade, Ryan Hunt ’23 and Alvaro Marin Miralles ’23 head back to their dorms. On clear nights, they are up at the Peters Observatory with Assistant Professor of Instruction in Physics Adam Lark until 4 a.m., tracking their target star system and hoping to see its brightness decrease. That decrease is caused by an object eclipsing its light, an indicator that the star system, like our solar system, may have its own planet.

Bailey Black ’24 presented her research “Activism and Digital Queer Culture in the Hispanic World.”

Show and Tell

More than 125 Hamilton students conducted research with faculty this summer, and the results of that work were on display in poster sessions held during Fallcoming. Some student researchers in the sciences and the Levitt Public Affairs Center talked with student writer Dana Blatte ’26 about what they learned.

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

Site Search