On Monday, a solar eclipse swept the nation, for the first time in 100 years. In Portsmouth, there was 90 percent totality covering by the moon and the peak time to see the eclipse was 2:32 p.m. A couple of locations held events that helped people safely view the eclipse.
At Shawnee State University, there was an eclipse viewing event on campus. Travis McNeilan, a junior at Shawnee, was running the event.
“An eclipse is whenever the moon passes over the sun and casts a shadow on the earth,” McNeilan said. “They’re known for being rare, but they actually happen two-three times a year. It’s location specific.”
More people showed up to the college than expected and about 50 pairs of glasses were passed out. Many people were sharing glasses and pinhole boxes to view the eclipse.
“We had an eclipse viewing event at the Clark Planetarium,” McNeilan said. “It was scheduled for 2-3 p.m., but we had overwhelming crowds and I opened the planetarium at 1 p.m. Inside the planetarium, we showed the NASA live stream, and then everyone moved outside to see the eclipse through pin-hole projection boxes as well as binocular manipulation on to a piece of paper.”
There was a large response from the community at the college. Some were students, faculty, or from the town of Portsmouth. Several people brought their children to see the planetarium and use a pair of special glasses that allowed for viewing the eclipse.
“Many people were here who were from the community. My phone is blinking with messages because we had such a response from the people in town. There were about 200 people inside for the demonstrations, with another 200 outside waiting.”
At the Lucasville Public Library branch, they held an event which also aimed to help people properly view the eclipse without harming their eyes. People from the community were invited to participate. M.j. Gilliland works on programming events with the library, and was at the event.
“Today we did a solar eclipse projector with cereal boxes,” Gilliland said. “It was a pretty simple project we did, putting the paper on the bottom and foil on the top and a pinhole through the foil so you could see a reflection of the eclipse without looking directly at it. We also had a live stream from NASA.”
Children learned what an eclipse was, and were able to make the pinhole boxes at the library. About 40 boxes in total were made.
The next eclipse will be in seven years. To learn more about the eclipse, visit https://www.nasa.gov/eclipse2017.