By Veronica Mackey
It’s been 38 years since a solar eclipse occurred in the U.S. and 99 years since a total solar eclipse has swept across the U.S. from coast to coast. The next partial eclipse will be visible in 2024.
This once-in-a-lifetime event when the moon completely covers the sun brought a divided country together to witness something way bigger than mankind. Massive traffic jams and sold-out hotel rooms evidenced its significance.
Briefly, various U.S. cities plunged into darkness, and temperatures dropped as much as 12 degrees, ABC News reported. The sun's corona, or outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by glare, appeared as a ring of ethereal white wisps around the moon while it blocked the sun. The corona is actually 300 times hotter than the sun’s surface, according to Space.com—if you can imagine that!
The celestial show travelled across the U.S., with the sun and moon appearing together in various phases from coast to coast. States along the “path of totality”—where the moon completely blocked the sun for a period of time included Oregon, Wyoming, Illinois, Tennessee and South Carolina.
Folks in Lincoln City, Oregon were the first to witness the total eclipse. In Madras, the population increased by 1500%, with over 100,000 eclipse watchers there to see the sky go from light to dark to light again.
Unless it was rainy and cloudy, there was a good chance you’d see at least a partial eclipse somewhere in the country. The sun was only partially eclipsed in California, and was covered the most at 10:21am Pacific time.
About 150 people filed outside the Inglewood Main Library to get protective glasses, and the supply quickly ran out. Sun and moon gazers were more than willing to share glasses so others could see history in the making.
From where they stood looking at the sky in Inglewood, only the sun was visible to the naked eye. But once you put on the glasses, you could see the moon covered about a quarter of the sun. The effect created a smiley face.
In some parts of the country, the planet Venus and stars were also visible.
The total eclipse was a welcome diversion to the hatred, division and senseless violence that has occurred across the country. Watching the earth go totally black, then light again was humbling to say the least. It made people awestruck to realize their smallness in relation to the universe. At the end of the day, human beings were reminded of who and what is really in charge.