Solar eclipse takes center stage on American platform

Published 12:01 am Friday, April 12, 2024

An Editorial Opinion of The Luverne Journal

American citizens paused their regular routines Monday, April 9 to view what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said was an “especially phenomenal” solar eclipse.

Local residents joined their countrymen to host viewings of the total solar eclipse NASA experts said was even more “exciting due to differences in the path, timing, and scientific research” than the last event which occurred in 2017.

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Greenville Middle School held a gathering where students and community members were able to view the eclipse in spite of overcast skies, something pre-K and kindergarten students witnessed such magnificence for the first time.

The Luverne Public Library held a similar viewing event, inviting community members to join for the super-special event and providing glasses to facilitate safe watching.

And in Lowndes County, students at Central Elementary and Fort Deposit Elementary schools took the time to watch the phenomenon which began around 12:40 p.m. and lasted until around 3:15 p.m. with an anticipated peak just before 2 p.m.

The eclipse moved first over Mexico, then the U.S. and Canada. The moon passed between Earth and the sun, leaving an approximately 115-mile shadow across its path, causing a darkened sky appearing as it would during dawn or dusk for the areas within the shadows range.

An estimated 365 million people within the path joined the residents of Butler, Lowndes and Crenshaw counties in viewing the eclipse. And, while our communities do not fall within the direct path encompassing Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont, they were part of the 99% of Americans who were able to see the partial or total eclipse from where they live.

If we consider that it is not often all of America can witness an event live and in person, Monday’s eclipse was truly a nationwide phenomenon. How often can one say they joined friends from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii in witnessing such a spectacular event from their own school, library, workplace or backyard.

With skies overcast some people had a diminished view of the sun, missing the chance to observe it fully. But even those with the most limited view were able to experience darkened skies.

Communities find togetherness in such times, watching phenomena which unsettled ancient societies with wonder rather than fear. It is a poignant reminder of the importance of take time out for special moments, especially those that can be shared with neighbors both near and far away.