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Visitors flocked to Oregon in August 2017 to watch the first total solar eclipse viewable from the contiguous United States in 38 years.The path of totality ran all the way across North America, but started near Lincoln City. Totality began on the Oregon Coast on August 21 at 10:16 a.m. PDT.And eclipse watchers were ready.

WSU's First Day Back Overshadowed By Solar Eclipse 

Scott Leadingham
Northwest Public Radio
Washington State University students may have to choose between their first classes of fall semester and the total solar eclipse.

On August 21, the moon will block the sun causing a giant shadow in the Northwest. But the day of the much-anticipated total solar eclipse is also the first day of fall semester for Washington State University Cougars.

Some WSU students and staff are disappointed that the first day of fall classes is also the day of a rare solar eclipse—meaning that they have to decide between classes or travel to the path of totality.  ?

But WSU sets its academic calendar years ahead of time. And it’s very costly to cancel a day of classes—even for epic snow. So there’s no changing it now. ?

Still, WSU’s Vancouver campus has purchased 500 pairs of solar-eclipse-watching glasses for students who are willing to settle for a partial view. ?

And in Pullman, where the bulk of students are, about 96 percent of the eclipse will be visible. It will look sort of like a bite out of a cookie. WSU officials warn students they will still need glasses if they plan to stare at the sun.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.