Moonlight Memories

Rachel Lechwar, Contributing writer

A Positive Spin on the Disappointing Solar Eclipse

eclipse

Photo taken by Allison Weinbecker

On August 21, 2017, families across the United States gathered around their yards and
televisions, anticipation rising for what is being referred to as the celestial event of the century. The Great American Eclipse has captivated viewers of all ages who were granted the opportunity to witness this event.

Unfortunately, Jacksonville was not one of the luckier cities. The gloomy skies lent way to disappointment for those awaiting a celestial show. Many paid for NASA-approved glasses only to met with ominous clouds covering the sun and moon.

Despite less-than-ideal weather conditions, the solar eclipse of 2017 is not an experience any of us will forget. Some families traveled across states to view the spectacular show, while others gathered together in their own backyards. Ten-year-old Avery Smith was fortunate enough to have seen it in South Carolina, where the eclipse reached totality.

“We set out a little kiddie pool for us to stay in because the temperature would go higher and lower, Smith said. “We got pizza and made little eclipse masks.”

She and her family went to their neighbor’s backyard to watch the eclipse. This occurrence is not unlike many across the nation, the news flooded with stories of relatives and strangers unified in awe of the sight before them.

In this sense, the solar eclipse served as a family, as well as a community, bonding time.
Schools have also taken advantage of the timing to educate students on the nature of the solar system for them to appreciate this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When asked what he learned about the solar eclipse, eight-year-old Alex Lechwar enthusiastically explained the process in which the moon comes in front of the sun, an occurrence which brought fear and wonder into his young mind.

Voice filled with curiosity, he said, “I keep wondering why you can’t look into the moon or the sun with your bare eyes. I don’t know why it would do that because it’s just darkness.”

Children, especially those who are old enough to understand the concept of space, have been exposed to the workings of our solar system, knowledge that is supported by memory of their personal experience.

Though much of Florida was not able to experience the eclipse to this extent, the news was competent in providing coverage from each of the states in the course of totality.

Sophomore Michaela Bowling was disappointed in the outcome of the eclipse.

“But you know it’s a milestone for history,” Bowling said. “In years to come they will look back on it and see how far we’ve evolved.”

While the views of the eclipse in Florida were not ideal, the memories and time spent with family made the anticipation worthwhile. Maybe the most exciting part of the eclipse was missing school, or for those in the path of totality- the beauty of the eclipse itself. But when time goes on and memories fade, it’s the experience that leaves an impression. Whether or not the conditions were right for viewing, the stories from the Great American Eclipse of 2017 are ones that can be treasured and retold to future generations.