By Alex Lloyd Gross
The Solar Eclipse took place today, August 21, 2017. To some people, it was just another day. To others, it was a day to take off work and learn about science. There were hundreds of places where people could gather to watch the phenomenon with others. There was a mad scramble to obtain safe glasses. Ultra Violet light rays will damage your eyes. It was not recommended to look directly at the eclipse with your naked eye or even with sunglasses. In fact, it’s strongly discouraged.
In Bucks County, the Grundy Library on Radcliffe Street was prepared for this event. They contacted NASA about a year ago and requested glasses. NASA shipped them about 500 pairs of glasses. It would not be enough. The library held an eclipse theme party, for kids and grown ups. Glasses were distributed by 12:50 PM and by 1:25 PM they were all gone.
Locally, there was cloud cover that threatened the entire event. The sun was obscured by clouds. During the eclipse, for periods of time there was nothing to see. Thankfully, there were lulls in the cloud cover and people were able to see what they came to see. Hundreds brought out expensive cameras and risked burning the sensor with the UV rays. There will be ruined cameras tomorrow. Guaranteed. As far as cellphones, well those plastic lenses are toast, if people kept the phone trained on the eclipse for an excessive time. Excessive is an ambiguous word. One may be fine while the other may be fried.
Looking through the glasses is the only safe way to see the eclipse in person. You saw an orange dot get obscured by a black circle. If was the best way to witness the event. The next best way were dozens of home made viewers made from cereal boxes,or paper plates, with a pinhole cut in the center. It was packed on the grounds of the library but. people shared their glasses. People shared their viewers. Sure some folks were dissapointed when the supply ran out, but if they struck around, they got to see something.
While the cloud cover over the Delaware Valley was hampering the view, others drove south or across the country to watch the eclipse. Their view was either great or worse. Small towns in the path of the eclipse were overwhelmed by travelers. Everyone had the same idea. Hotels were sold out a year in advance. From 5 star establishments to places with a room just about as big as a closet. The eclipse peaked locally at 2:44 PM. By about 4:00 PM it was all over.
There is another eclipse in 2024.The glasses you used today are not safe to use after three years. Do not stare at the eclipse for more than 3 minutes straight with the glasses on. The cloud cover actually acted as a safety buffer and helped shield the direct rays. It also dissuaded people from looking right at the sun.