Solar eclipse marked in varied ways in San Juan
San Juan County residents marked the August 21 solar eclipse, in which the moon covered 82 percent of the sun’s light, in different ways.
A number of local residents made the long trip to Idaho or Wyoming to see the eclipse in totality. Many local residents took the time to watch the eclipse and learn about the rare phenomenon.
A large number of Native American residents spent the day inside rather than watching or celebrating an event that many consider to be a private rebirth of the sun.
To meet the varying perspectives of the eclipse, the San Juan School District provided a number of alternatives for students on August 21.
The schools hosted watching events and, at the same time, provided “quiet and still places” inside each school for Native students.
Students who missed school on August 21 will not be required to make up the missed work.
School officials report that attendance was very low at schools in the southern portion of the district and slightly decreased in the northern schools.
It was not just another sunny day at the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, where more than 150 people enjoyed eclipse day activities.
People from all over the world participated in the Great American Solar Eclipse, in addition to two busloads of students from Colorado. Local residents from surrounding communities also came together to participate in the event.
The sun and moon performed as expected. The moon “came out of nowhere” to eclipse the Sun at 82 percent. Actually, the new moon was invisible until its orbit passed in front of the sun.
The skies turned dark and the temperatures dropped several degrees.
The weather was perfect, despite warnings to the contrary. Using solar scopes and eclipse glasses, you could see the eclipse clearly and even notice solar flares coming off of the sun.
Some people made “pinhole viewers” by simply poking a piece of paper with a paper clip, holding it perpendicular to the sun’s rays and “projecting” the sun’s shape onto the sidewalk below.
One man discovered thousands of crescent suns in the most unexpected places: in a human shadow on the sidewalk between the short, vertical hairs on his head –difficult to make out, but still clear enough so that dozens of partially eclipsed sun images could be seen.
On the edges of shadows—a person’s body shadow, even, and between the shadows of thousands of tiny leaves of a juniper tree. In the spaces between the shadows of fingers of two hands crossed at right angles.
One middle schooler, Lisa, exclaimed, “I thought it was absolutely amazing, probably something I’m never going to experience again.”
Calvin, a high school student, said, “It was awesome how the moon went in front of the sun and how the light changed.
(April Baisan, of the Canyon Country Discovery Center, contributed to this story.)