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The Lake Chelan Valley turns out to view the Great North American Solar Eclipse (Photo Gallery)

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Mark Reimers (right) and John Higgins (left) take a break from their businesses to glance at the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017. (Photo by Jillian Foster)


Millions of people across North America turned their eyes to the sky today on August 21, 2017, to witness an historic event, a total solar eclipse that extended from coast to coast in North America, from Oregon to South Carolina. The last solar eclipse occurred in 1979 and extended across the Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

Residents and visitors of the Lake Chelan Valley likewise turned out in droves to view the partial eclipse and stand along Woodin Avenue, outside shops, businesses and homes. Many filled Morgen Ownings Elementary (MOE) School grounds to share eclipse glasses and peer through telescopes hoping to get a safe view of the moon as it slowly made its way across the path of the sun on Monday morning.

Solar eclipse seen from Chelan, WA on August 21, 2017. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

Eclipse viewers at MOE school grounds shared eclipse glasses and peered through telescopes to get a safe view of the moon as it slowly made its way across the path of the sun on Monday morning. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

The solar eclipse began at approximately 9:11 a.m. and peaked at approximately 10:23 a.m. in Chelan, WA. Many devices were utilized by viewers to enjoy the eclipse. Devices ranged from eclipse glasses to telescopes and even homemade pinhole viewers made from cereal boxes and shipping tubes.

A solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and Earth. The event can last up to three hours from beginning to end. Monday’s eclipse was especially monumental as the event was the first time in 99 years that the path of totality (full sun obscurity) exclusively crossed the continental United States.

Chelan Middle School Science Teacher Jeremy Anhalt was on site to assist viewers with understanding the eclipse. Anhalt expressed joy at seeing so many filling the field at MOE to enjoy the eclipse.

An approximate 200 viewers filled the field at Morgen Owings Elementary school throughout the morning. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

Ty Witt shared an indirect view of the eclipse with eclipse enthusiasts gathered at MOE school grounds. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

“I wasn’t sure if we would get five people or 100 people,” Anhalt stated. “It’s nice to see people interested in something like this. The heavy media coverage definitely helped.”

Anhalt continued to explain the rarity of the event.

“Eclipses happen every year somewhere on earth. This is significant because most of North America will have the chance to see most of the sun eclipsed by the moon,” Anhalt explained.

Anhalt brought a model of the earth and moon to assist in demonstrating the science behind the eclipse. Two former students, Teagan Silva and Jaime Beckel eagerly helped to explain why total eclipses are so rare.

“It’s because the moon is on a diagonal,” Silva explained.

Teagan Silva draws a diagram demonstrating the rotation of the moon around the earth. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

A model of the rotation of the moon around the earth on display at the solar eclipse which took place on Aug. 21, 2017. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

“This model isn’t on an angle, it’s flat,” Beckel added referring to the flaw in the model on display at the event which demonstrates the rotation of the sun, earth and moon in relation to one another.

Silva then proceeded to draw a diagram explaining the flaw and what the model should look like to properly demonstrate the rotation of the moon around the earth.

Anhalt hopes that the popularity of the event leads to an increased interest in science and astronomy.

“Hopefully people take this as a stepping stone to learn more about space, astronomy and our place in the universe. I hope they ask more questions as a result of this,” Anhalt said.

Residents, visitors and four-legged friends gathered at Morgen Owings Elementary in Chelan, Washington to watch the solar eclipse. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

Eclipse viewers created their own viewing boxes to safely enjoy the event. This viewing device was made with a shipping tube. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

According to NASA, an estimated 300 million people in the United States had the opportunity to view Monday’s total solar eclipse. At MOE, an approximate 200 viewers filled the fields. Along Woodin Avenue, shoppers and downtown employees took to the sidewalks to catch a glimpse of the event, passing solar glasses around to allow all to stare safely at the sun.

The next total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States will occur on April 8, 2024, and will extend from Mexico, up through Texas, and continuing toward New York State and the Northeast.

Residents turned out to view the solar eclipse along Woodin Avenue in Chelan. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

Employees from Chelan Fresh stepped outside to view the solar eclipse on Monday August 21, 2017. Photo by Jillian Foster)

(By Jillian Foster)




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