Sunny skies perfect for viewing solar eclipse

Allen County residents were able to enjoy solar eclipse Monday afternoon as the moon passed in front of the sun, covering about 92%.

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Local News

April 8, 2024 - 12:07 PM

Iola Elementary School students gaze in wonder at the solar eclipse Monday afternoon. IES teachers led the students outside at 1:30 p.m. in preparation for the moment of the eclipse’s peak totality. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

Sunny skies across Allen County allowed students and others to enjoy a near-total solar eclipse, while millions of spectators across the U.S., Mexico and Canada watched as the moon passed in front of the sun for a few minutes. In Iola, the eclipse hit its maximum of about 92% at 1:52 p.m. Monday.

At Iola schools, students gathered outside to stare at the sun using special glasses. 

Iola Elementary School students gaze in wonder at the solar eclipse Monday afternoon. IES teachers led the students outside at 1:30 p.m. in preparation for the moment of the eclipse’s peak totality. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

At Iola Public Library, retired physicist Stan Grigsby spoke to a crowd of about 20 as a NASA livestream played on a television screen behind him. Grigsby spoke about the effects of the eclipse on ham radio operations, the importance of science and even the history of the eclipse in literature. 

A chilly, midday darkness fell across much of North America as the total solar eclipse raced across the continent, thrilling those lucky enough to behold the spectacle through clear skies. Almost everyone in North America was guaranteed at least a partial eclipse, weather permitting.

It was the continent’s biggest eclipse audience ever, with a couple hundred million people living in or near the shadow’s path, plus scores of out-of-towners flocking in.

Clouds blanketed most of Texas as total solar eclipse began its diagonal dash across land, starting along Mexico’s mostly clear Pacific coast and aiming for Texas and 14 other U.S. States, before exiting into the North Atlantic near Newfoundland.

In Georgetown, Texas, the hundreds of people gathered on the Southwestern University lawn cheered when the skies cleared just in time to give spectators a clear view.

“We are really lucky,” said resident Susan Robertson. “Even with the clouds it is kind of nice because when it clears up it is like wow.”

Arkansas and northeast New England were the best bets in the U.S. New Brunswick and Newfoundland in Canada also looked promising.

The show got underway in the Pacific before noon EDT. As the darkness of totality reached the Mexican resort city of Mazatlan, the faces of spectators were illuminated only by the screens of their cellphones.

The cliff-hanging uncertainty added to the drama. But the overcast skies in Mesquite near Dallas didn’t rattle Erin Froneberger, who was in town for business and brought along her eclipse glasses.

“We are always just rushing, rushing, rushing,” she said. “But this is an event that we can just take a moment, a few seconds that it’s going to happen and embrace it.”

A festival outside Austin wrapped up early on Monday because afternoon storms were in the forecast. Festival organizers urged everyone to pack up and leave.

At Iola Public Library, above, Judy Baker, front, Genna Mitchell in back and Melissa Smoot look at the eclipse. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register
Alex Brummel, age 6, watches the eclipse outside Iola Public Library. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register
Stan Grigsby talks about the history of the eclipse and science at a library presentation to kick off the event. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register
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Sara Laneau, of Westfield, Vermont, woke up at 4 a.m. Monday to take her 16-year-old niece to nearby Jay Peak ski resort to catch the eclipse after a morning on the slopes.

“This will be a first from me and an experience of a lifetime,” said Laneau, who was dressed in a purple metallic ski suit with a solar eclipse T-shirt underneath.

At Niagara Falls State Park, tourists streamed in under cloudy skies with wagons, strollers, coolers and lawn chairs. Park officials expected a large crowd at the popular site overlooking the falls.

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