South Florid­i­ans re­act to so­lar eclipse

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ISHEKA N. HAR­RI­SON ihar­ri­son@sfltimes.com

FORT. LAUD­ERDALE, Fla. – For months, the coun­try has an­tic­i­pated the first to­tal so­lar eclipse since 1972. Sci­en­tists and other ex­perts gave ad­vice on how to pre­pare for it, what peo­ple should do to view it safely as well as when and where it would peak.

Lists of eclipse events pop­u­lated the in­ter­net, so­lar glasses were pur­chased and given out by the mil­lions and tu­to­ri­als on how to make your own were shared. The world waited in ea­ger an­tic­i­pa­tion and South Florida was no dif­fer­ent.

Though it had been de­ter­mined the quad-county ar­eas of Palm Beach, Mi­ami-Dade, Broward and Mon­roe coun­ties would not be in the path of to­tal­ity (the ar­eas where the moon would to­tally block out the sun and en­com­pass the area in com­plete dark­ness), 80 per­cent to­tal­ity wasn’t too shabby ei­ther.

As a re­sult, South Florida res­i­dents turned out in droves to make sure they could ex­pe­ri­ence a mo­ment in his­tory on Mon­day, Au­gust 21.

Eclipse events were held all across the re­gion in­clud­ing var­i­ous li­braries, mu­se­ums, parks, schools, etc.

The South Florida Times was able to at­tend an eclipse event held at the African Amer­i­can Re­search Li­brary and Cul­tural Cen­ter (AARLCC) on Sistrunk Blvd.

Ac­cord­ing to or­ga­niz­ers, they’d given out over 600 eclipse glasses and had to turn away just as many pa­trons Satur­day and Mon­day.

“It’s been a mad­house. We had a line wrapped all around the fence, all the way past the en­trance be­fore we opened this morn­ing,” said Paul Wells, AARLCC’s cir­cu­la­tion su­per­vi­sor.

Dur­ing Mon­day’s event res­i­dents were able to view the eclipse through so­lar glasses, home­made eclipse boxes or through a live stream go­ing on in the au­di­to­rium.

Sadie Carter, a re­tired teacher who cur­rently home schools chil­dren, took the day off to bring her two grand­daugh­ters – Kelizaryah Carter, 5, and Se­riah Carter, 2 – to view the eclipse. She said there was no way she could let the op­por­tu­nity for them to ex­pe­ri­ence his­tory pass her by. “When this last hap­pened it was 1972 and that’s the year my son was born. I thought this was such great his­tory and I’m able to bring my grand­kids to ex­pe­ri­ence it so I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” Carter said.

She said she asked the par­ents of the stu­dents she home schools to keep them at home Mon­day so she could spend the day with her grand­daugh­ters. “Their fa­ther bought them glasses a month ago … I re­ally wanted it to sink in so they could see how pre­cious this mo­ment is and to see the ex­pres­sion on other peo­ple’s faces and know they are a part of it. When they grow up, they will be able to tell their grand­kids that they wit­nessed it with their grand­mother in 2017. This is beau­ti­ful,” Carter con­tin­ued. Tammy Thomp­son, 41, of Ft. Laud­erdale ex­pressed sim­i­lar awe.

“This is my first time see­ing the eclipse and it’s amaz­ing. It’s beau­ti­ful. I’m wowed. I re­ally am be­cause it’s the first time I ac­tu­ally saw it with my own eyes,” Thomp­son said.

Elaina Nor­lin, the li­brary re­gional man­ager, said it was very ful­fill­ing to see res­i­dents ex­cited about the eclipse.

“It’s been great be­cause the last time this hap­pened there were so many peo­ple who hadn’t been born and they couldn’t pin­point with this ac­cu­racy (when and where it would be),” Nor­lin said. We’ve been over­whelmed. The whole li­brary sys­tem has been over­whelmed, but it’s amaz­ing.”

She added there were a few peo­ple who didn’t know much about the eclipse, but said they were go­ing to do more re­search about it after view­ing it.

“Any­thing that in­spires crit­i­cal think­ing and life­long learn­ing is great,” Nor­lin said.

Lisa Jack­son serves as the AARLCC’s su­per­vi­sor of youth and adult in­for­ma­tion ser­vices. She agreed with Nor­lin. “It’s just amaz­ing to see adults with a child­like won­der look­ing up at the sun. It seems they are more ex­cited than the kids,” Jack­son said. “We’re happy that peo­ple are show­ing an in­ter­est in this and hop­ing that in­spires an in­ter­est in sci­ence over­all and how it touches their ev­ery­day lives.”

LEFT PHOTO BY ISHEKA HAR­RI­SON FOR SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES. RIGHT PHOTO COUR­TESY OF KOREY DAVIS PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Left pic­ture: Tammy Thomp­son views the so­lar eclipse at the African Amer­i­can Re­search Li­brary and Cul­tural Cen­ter in Fort Laud­erdale. Right pic­ture: A view of the eclipse as it ap­peared in South Florida.

PHO­TOS BY ISHEKA HAR­RI­SON FOR SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES

Left photo: Lisa Jack­son (front right), su­per­vi­sor of youth and adult in­for­ma­tion ser­vices at AARLCC, shows stu­dents how to see the so­lar eclipse through a pin point view­ing box. Right photo: Sadie Carter brought her grand­daugh­ters Se­riah, 2, and Kelizaryah, 5, to view the eclipse.

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