They started wandering out to the Quad a little after one. Faculty, students, a couple of facilities guys with a wagonload of tools, a lab technician with her two daughters, and even a few administrators claimed sunny spots.

By two, the Quad looked like Coney Island on a somewhat cloudy day.

At 2:30, all kinds of viewing gadgets with tiny pinholes were firmly in position at just the right angle: Cheerio, Shredded Wheat, Kleenix, Brillo, and FedEx boxes; paper plates; poster board; and a gadget made from a paper towel roll, aluminum foil and a large paper cup. The few lucky ones with official, hard-to-come-by sunglasses raised their faces to the sun.

And precisely at 2:44, as a light shadow trailed across the old buildings, trees, and green, it seemed that everyone breathed in awe, cheered, and exchanged smiles of wonder and stories of their historic experience.

“You can’t get better than this,” a student was overheard to say as he fell back in the grass, his Animal Cracker box with a pin hole on the bottom resting on his chest.