Look up in the Sky

It’s the sun, the moon, an eclipse

Many throughout Lewis County and the United States anticipated the solar eclipse of Monday, Aug. 21.
Schools throughout the county hosted educational viewing events for their students, and Richard Taylor, a local amateur astronomer, held an eclipse viewing party at Lively Park on Monday, Aug. 21.
Dozens of people showed up to the viewing party, where Taylor had two telescopes equipped with filters to view the partial solar eclipse up-close.  
Taylor also set up a projector using another telescope that projected the event onto a white board for safe viewing by those without proper glasses, but he provided a limited number of eclipse glasses as well.
The eclipse was visible in the United States on a path from Oregon to South Carolina with a 70-mile wide “path of totality,” where the sun was completely blocked by the moon, according to the National Aeronautics and space administration (NASA).
The last full solar eclipse took place on Feb. 26, 1979. While West Virginia was not in that path, the crowd was still awed by the eclipse, which blotted out approximately 90 percent of the of the sun.  
People of all ages attended the event, with many bringing their children and grandchildren. Karen Westfall assisted her three-year-old granddaughter, Audrey Debar, with her viewing glasses at the Lively Park event.
“She might not see this again for many years, so we’re bringing her up here,” Westfall said.
Taylor and Jacob Weber, another local amateur astronomer, busied themselves with keeping the eclipse in view on all the telescopes as the sun moved across the sky.   
A woman who sat in the shade on a white blanket discovered that the light filtering through the leaves of the tree made dozens of tiny projections of the celestial event.
Many in attendance alternated between the telescopes and their eyes with the help of eclipse glasses.
“We didn’t have anything going on in town, so I wanted to be able to bring this to the people of my community so they could see it; not just on TV, but in person,” Taylor said.
Taylor went on to note that he loved astronomy.
“There’s an old saying: A joy shared is a joy made double,”  he concluded.  
Leading Creek Elementary School prepared their students for the eclipse, with almost every student in the school participating. Glasses were provided to each student.
Sixth grade teacher Debbie Moss said her class has been studying the eclipse since school began on Aug. 14. Students made charts showing the moon’s coverage of the sun, and used Oreo cookies to show the path of the eclipse.

© 2019-The Weston Democrat

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