UGA hosts 'Eclipse Blackout 2017' at Sanford Stadium

CLARKE COUNTY, Ga. — The University of Georgia opened up Sanford Stadium for students and the public to watch the solar eclipse.

The Eclipse Blackout 2017 event was hosted by Dr. John Knox and the university's geography department.

Monday's eclipse was the first in nearly 100 years to cross the country and, due to its rarity, astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse.

Students helped hand out 10,000 free solar eclipse glasses.

School officials told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot they didn’t think they’d need more than that, but soon after they opened the gates, everyone realized there were going to be a lot more people here to watch the eclipse than they expected.

An estimated crowd of more than 20,000 people showed up at the stadium. There were so many people that school officials had to open up the south and west ends of the stadium.

“I didn’t think there would be this many people out here, but it’s like a really big event, so I guess it’s to be expected,” student Talliyah Draper told Elliot.

Athens was not in the zone of totality, but the eclipse got to more than 99 percent.

Despite not reaching 100 percent totality, everyone was still amazed.

“I can see the shadows. I can see where the moon is moving to cover it,” Colin Shamley said as he watched the eclipse.

At its peak, the moon’s shadow washed over all of Sanford Stadium, eliciting cheers from everyone there, especially because it cooled everything down.

“It was really hot to begin with, but now, it’s cooling down, and it seems like it’s getting really dark fast,” student Lamia Hussein said.

UGA junior Sara Benist told Elliot this was something she would never forget.

“This is so cool. This is like the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Benist said.