Solar Elipse comes to Wartburg

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By Michelle Hollenhead

For Miette Jones, Monday was “the most important thing ever, and the most important day of my life.”

The St. Louis youngster was visiting the Obed Wild and Scenic River Visitor’s Center with her mother, Ginny Carpeta, and family friend, Jessica Abel, to witness the total solar eclipse.

“It was awesome, just amazing,” said Abel, who had traveled from Nashville.

The trio said they camped locally all weekend, leading up to Monday’s once-in-a-lifetime event.

Lily Huckeby was also impressed.

“I really liked it, especially the ring.”

Her father, Phillip agreed it was “awesome. It was much nicer than I expected.”

“But that minute [of totality] went by a lot quicker than I expected.”

Park rangers at the Visitor’s Center handed out nearly 1,200 pairs of glasses Monday in anticipation of the eclipse, which started around 1 p.m., and lasted until around 4 p.m.

Many picked up their glasses and went to another location for viewing, but those who stayed enjoyed the camaraderie, cheering and clapping when totality occurred around 2:30 p.m.

The eclipse began around 1 p.m., when the moon started crossing the visibility of the sun. It started out looking like a bite was taken out of the sun. As the eclipse progressed, temperatures on the 90-degree day began to noticeably decline.

As the totality began around 2:30, the sky became so darkened that the streetlights came on, as it it were dusk.

While the eclipse was at its peak, spectators removed their safety glasses, and beheld the sight of a halo around the sun.

This phase was projected to last just over a minute, but it seemed much sooner when a park ranger instructed everyone to resume watching with their glasses once again.

Most did leave at that point, when the eclipse was winding down.

But many continued watching the progression from home, as the experience continued until around 4 p.m.