CHARLESTON, S.C. — In the days leading up to the eclipse, the city embraced totality with gusto: eclipse T-shirts, a black IPA — named “Blackout” — made specially by a local brewery, eclipse glasses hawked on street corners, viewing parties scheduled in every park and on available rooftop.
But in Liberty Square, a few hours before the moon’s arrival, cloudy skies and sweaty temperatures somewhat dampened the festivities. Eclipse chasers sought refuge from the heat under a gazebo. “I might as well take a photo with the lens cap on,” one visitor grumped as he set up his camera for the solar action to come.
Still, a small crowd managed to find a tiny spectacle — not the eclipse but a gopher tortoise named Magoo let out for a walk on the grass. (A blind and deaf resident of the South Carolina aquarium, he was oblivious to the impending cosmic phenomena.)
“Even if it’s cloudy, we’ll still see day turn to night,” said Kwayera A. Davis. Davis first heard about the Great American Eclipse before anyone had minted the name — back in the 1990s, when he was a student taking an astronomy course.
Davis, an adjunct astronomy professor at the College of Charleston, recalled thinking that the 2017 eclipse seemed too far into the future to predict. “I didn’t know where in the world I’ll be,” he said.
On Monday, the Charleston native was home, helping set up a series of telescopes pointed at the sun.