Eclipse experience: Libraries plan viewing parties

By Racey Burden | Published Published Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017
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On Monday, Aug. 21, the United States will experience its first total eclipse since 1979, and several local libraries are holding viewing parties.

Though Texans won’t be able to see the total eclipse — we’ll get about 75 percent coverage — the moon’s path in front of the sun will still be visible in Wise County as the path of the totality passes from Oregon to South Carolina.

Alvord, Decatur and Rhome public libraries will host viewing parties. Alvord’s begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m, and Rhome’s runs at the same time.

Decatur Public Library will host their viewing party from noon to 2 p.m. Free viewing glasses will be supplied on a first come, first serve basis. There will also be a time capsule, Kona Ice truck and food truck. Attendees are asked to bring items they believe represent 2017 to place in the time capsule.

Weatherford College in Weatherford will also offer a public lecture on the eclipse in room 104 of the Academic Building. Attendees will hear a short talk from physics instructor James Espinosa, participate in a pinhole-viewer activity and watch a live video of the eclipse as it crosses Oregon. The event starts at 11:30, and the moon will be at maximum local coverage at 1:06 p.m. The first 20 attendees will receive free viewing glasses.

Teacher travels for eclipse
The lucky students in Tammy Rainey’s science classes at Decatur’s Young Elementary will get to Facetime with their teacher as she experiences the total eclipse with her family in Nebraska.

Rainey’s classes will watch the eclipse in Texas with teacher Danielle Scroggins while also seeing the total eclipse in Nebraska via video. She said the fourth graders have been learning about phases of the moon, and the fifth graders are learning about Earth’s rotation around the sun, so this fits with their classwork.

“This is all a part of their TEKS,” Rainey said. “They get the treat of seeing the eclipse on a school day. Hopefully they’ll take note of how fast it moves.”

And when the next total eclipse crosses over Texas in 2024, maybe they’ll remember the experience.

“Hopefully they’ll think back in April of 2024 to the first time they saw one,” Rainey said.

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