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The Solar Eclipse Leaves the Nation in Awe

Leah Frain, Writer

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On August 21, 2017, Americans all around the country experienced a rare phenomenon: a total solar eclipse. A solar eclipse is when the moon crosses between the sun and earth, producing a shadow on certain parts of the world. Eclipses that reach totality are among the rarest kind and produce excitement for many people.

Those living along the path of Oregon to South Carolina had the privilege of witnessing this total solar eclipse. With the impending spectacle occurring, many searched for a way to watch this total eclipse. According to medical professionals, staring at the sun without protective glasses can cause one to damage their eyesight, or even become blind. Therefore, retailers such as Amazon sold “eclipse glasses” to block out the powerful rays while awaiting totality. However, witnessing this historical event came at a high price as the date drew closer. Prior to August 1, the glasses sold a five pack at the price of $7.99. After this date, Amazon reported the price skyrocketing. Those willing to spend the money were also warned of being scammed as these glasses were a hot ticket item.

Kaleigh Remick, a Senior at Saint John Vianney High School, shared her experience with seeing the solar eclipse with her friend. “I picked up glasses from the local library and headed over to the beach to watch the eclipse, but just when it was about to begin, huge clouds rolled across the sky and obscured our view. There was a brief moment when the clouds parted just enough for us to get a glance of the eclipse, and through the glasses, the whole sky was pitch black except for the crescent of sun peeking around the moon,” Remick detailed.

Instead of spending large amounts of money on glasses or attempting to find glasses at various places, many others decided to make special boxes to view the eclipse. Numerous reliable companies created videos on how to turn an average shoe or cereal box into an “eclipse viewer.” If made properly, the box would be both safe and efficient for the user.

Sara Fitzgerald, a Senior at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology High School, decided to create her own viewfinder out of a shoe box. Fitzgerald said, “It was a really interesting way to view the solar eclipse, and it wasn’t that much different than the glasses, since I tried both. I love doing this kind of thing, and it was cool to be able to see the eclipse with my own eyes.”

In states such as North and South Carolina, the sun and moon reached its peak at approximately 2:48 p.m. Eastern. Many enjoyed the shadow from the eclipse for 2 minutes and 38 seconds until the sky returned to normal once again. Unlike North and South Carolina, New Jersey only experienced a partial solar eclipse, which still drew a lot of excitement. Around 2:45 p.m., many New Jerseyans stepped outside with their special glasses or homemade viewfinders to witness an event that had not occurred for 38 years.

Fortunately, New Jersey will most likely not have to wait that much longer to view another partial solar eclipse. According to NASA, the next glimpse of an eclipse viewable by New Jersey will occur in April of 2024 and it will definitely be worth the wait!

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The Solar Eclipse Leaves the Nation in Awe