By James Walling
The Courier 

Viewpoints on the Solar Eclipse

 

August 23, 2017

Kayla Rorvick / For the Courier

Nashua students had a special treat on the first day of school by being able to view the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Whether you travelled to view Monday's eclipse in its totality, as the Courier's A.J. Etherington did, or simply stopped to gaze in wonder at the partial event someplace locally, it was a day to remember. The following are three short reports from Valley County residents and groups:

A High Noon Sunset in Wyoming

The sky began to noticeably darken around 11:30 a.m., the kids began to get excited, and my ability to control myself was fading quickly. We kept fighting a two-year-old to wear her solar glasses. Then the sky began to fade black and the horizon lit up as if it were late twilight, but with a green hue at 360 degrees. Then, a flash of light called the diamond ring appeared as the last beams of the sun were obstructed by its celestial companion. It was almost an instant transition to the corona, the atmosphere of the sun, and the stars and planets that took over the sky for a few minutes at the peak of the day. The August 21, 2017, Solar Eclipse was upon us.


We erupted into gasps of admiration as we watched in awe of the moment. The kids giggled hysterically as I shouted loud enough to wake the baby. We looked up and all around at the dark sky and the setting sun on the horizon. We commented vaguely and snapped frantic pictures while trying not to ruin the moment with the family. We were practically alone in the middle of central Wyoming, enjoying a celestial phenomenon that millions had traveled to see at the same time, but only a dozen people were in sight. It was a moment we will never forget.

When my wife, Jewel, and I started planning this expedition to see the total solar eclipse the hype had been minimal to date. It was early April and the only note of the eclipse I was aware of was on NASA's Facebook page. So we started planning, and decided to do an entire week on the road with all the kids and one dog (I am literally writing this from Estes Park outside Rocky Mountain National Park). So following the grand show we had naively, and before the months of hype, planned to head south to Colorado to see Rocky Mountain National Park and the Denver Zoo, before returning to Montana. After avoiding crowds and traffic getting to the eclipse, we were then going to rave the traffic heading south towards Denver. You can imagine how the trip south went following Wyoming's doubling population.

– A.J. Etherington

'Interpretive' Viewing Party

The Fort Peck Interpretive Center joined in on the solar eclipse by hosting a viewing party out on the lawn. Approximately 60 people showed up to view this rare event, with some coming from various locations, even as far as Mississippi. Many locals came from Fort Peck and Glasgow, with a couple of people coming from Lewistown. Several other travelers extended their camping trip an extra day or more to enjoy the Fort Peck area and view the eclipse before heading towards their final destination. The sky got so dark as the moon was passing over the sun that the photo sensor lights all across the dam came on. Pelicans also seemed to be influenced as a huge flock flew up and over the dam during the event.


– Sue Dalbey,

Corps of Engineers

NWS, GCCL, Nashua School

Meteorologist-in-charge Tanja Fransen and meteorologist Brandon Bigelbach from the Glasgow National Weather Service stopped by the Glasgow City-County Library to teach Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts how to safely view the solar eclipse. They showed the children how to make a pinhole viewer, which allowed the sun to shine through the hole, and allowed the children to see the eclipse progress, peak and end. The library also provided safety glasses as another way for the children to safely view the event.

Nashua School had a special treat on their first day of school by being able to view the eclipse. Nashua science teacher Cindee Parker facilitated the viewing by taking all students outside to view the event. Parker received the special glasses to allow the children to safety view the progress, and made them extra special by putting them in a paper plate to provide even more protection for the children's eyes.


– Michelle Bigelbach

 

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