Eclipse drapes over Graham High


A.J. Hall and Wesley Short

On Monday, August 21, Tazewell County Public Schools released early because of the solar eclipse. The town of Bluefield also held a viewing party for the spectacle, bringing in hundreds of people to view the eclipse. David Woodward, town tourism director and school board member, said that the eclipse was a “really cool” event and that it wasn’t his first time seeing one. However, the party wasn’t just for watching the eclipse. “The main objective is to bring people from out of the area and to stay and enjoy the town’s assets. It also gives the people a chance to be a part of the community, and it’s a nice break from our routine,” he answered when asked about what the event was organized for.
Josh Cline, President and CEO of the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, was also there handing out glow sticks and stickers. “We wanted to help celebrate this unique event.” Cline said enthusiastically when asked about the event.
The eclipse isn’t just about watching the event, it also give people a chance to be even more creative in their art and writing. One such creation is that of Kevin Martin’s. For the viewing party that Bluefield held, he drew and painted an amazing picture of the full eclipse. His inspiration came from a piece of street art of the eclipse that he saw in Louisville, and he chose to make this piece of art for the viewing party.
Astronomy and the cosmos are sources of fascination to humans across the Earth. When observing the endless sky above us, we generate more questions than answers. The solar eclipse of 2017 is a perfect example of this. Let’s set out to research this strange phenomenon that we humans witness from Earth.
“This celestial event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location.” (NASA, Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? And How?) It seems simple enough on paper, but it’s hard to find out exactly when this event will happen. NASA does research like this daily to find out when the next event will occur.
The eclipse was only visible in its fullest form to certain areas of the world along the “corona” (also known as the “Path of Totality”); these areas were primarily the northwestern, central, and southeastern United States. In other areas, it was only partially visible. People from all over America rushed to stores to grab viewing glasses, welding masks, and too many pairs of sunglasses.
Here in Bluefield, the eclipse had roughly 92% coverage (NASA, Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? And How?). The skies went slightly dim, and the sun was still very visible. It wasn’t fully contained by the moon as it would appear in places like Lincoln Beach, Oregon and Charleston, South Carolina. From my home, it was a glorious sight to see, nonetheless. Looking through both a pair of sunglasses and a welding mask, it was like a free movie- only movies don’t usually burn your eyes out.
If you didn’t get to see the eclipse this year, don’t worry. “You won’t have to wait an
entire century until the next one — just seven years. Another total solar eclipse will be visible in
the United States on April 8, 2024.” says Ashley Strickland of CNN. So if you missed it, be lucky
you won’t have to wait too long until the next one. Save those viewing glasses until next time!