COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Crowds cheered as darkness fell over the University of South Carolina during the daytime.
The Total Solar Eclipse was a once-in-a-lifetime event for many of those who gathered on campus to watch.
"I think it's the best way to start my career here at USC," said Samuel Laurie. "The stars literally aligned, you know. Everything's been working out lately."
It wasn't the stars that aligned. It was the Earth, the moon, and the sun. Still, many see the event as a good omen.
"I think it's a good sign to kick off this year with some good fortune," said Laurie.
Families, who staked out spots early, said they planned the trip for months traveling from far and wide.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing the total eclipse," said Charlotte resident Michael Rose, "and seeing the rings around the sun."
Others from nearby relived a childhood memory and helped others to see the corona, spotting planets, too.
"I just marvel at all of God's creation," said Gail Schwoebel of Fort Mill. "I think this Earth is a wonderful place and the motions of the planets, the motions of the moon. I mean, this really is a special place and I'm grateful to be here."
Astronomy professors hope this will instill in students a curiosity for what's beyond earth as well as a desire to learn.
"I think this is one of those instances where you feel the energy of nature," said USC Professor of Astronomy Dr. Varsha Kulkarni. "In the ancient American Indian culture, they used to think of a total solar eclipse as a time where you reflect on the gladness of life and pick up on nature."