Rare Total Solar Eclipse Travels Across Country

On Aug. 21, people across the country watched in awe as the solar eclipse began its journey across the country. Many people flocked to cities that were in the path of totality, while others watched live-stream coverages on their televisions and phones. The eclipse had been hyped around the country for weeks. People scampered to find a pair of NASA-certified glasses to view the eclipse without risking retinal damage. When stores sold out of the prized glasses, enthusiasts began making “pinhole projectors” out of cereal boxes. There were countdowns in place, plans being made for viewing parties and road trips and even doomsday preparations by those who feared the world might end. At approximately 10 a.m. PT, the skies began to darken and the temperature started to drop as the moon passed in front of the sun. At 10:15 a.m. in Madras, Ore., the moon blocked the sun, marking the beginning of the two-and-a-half minutes of totality. During this time, only the sun’s corona, or outermost layer, was visible, forming a bright, shining ring around the black orb of the moon. The eclipse made its way across the country, following a path of totality comprised of 11 states. In each state, onlookers gathered in places ranging from national parks to stadiums to sidewalks. Everyone present looked on eagerly, wearing their eclipse glasses, excitedly awaiting totality. Washington & Jefferson College students had varying experiences of the eclipse. “I was in Maryland during the eclipse, which was not in the path of totality. I also didn’t have a pair of eclipse glasses, so my experience of the eclipse was just the world looking like it had a strange filter on it,” said Macie Sowers ’18. Although this had been the first total eclipse visible to the United States since 1979, the next one is soon. Monica Park ’19 said, “I’m excited to see the next eclipse and hopefully it’s even better than the last one.” On April 8, 2024, another solar eclipse will track across North America. The total eclipse will be visible to Mexico, the central United States and eastern Canada. The eclipse will reportedly stretch from Texas to Maine and include totality peak times of up to four-and-ahalf minutes. Prime cities for totality in 2024 will include Dallas, Little Rock, Cleveland and Rochester. Western Pennsylvania will experience approximately 95 percent coverage. For those looking forward to the 2024 eclipse, start searching for a pair of eclipse viewing glasses before it is too late.