Delawareans gathered to watch solar eclipse

Delawareans gathered at Brandywine Creek State Park to watch the solar eclipse.

Hundreds flocked to state parks to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse—when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and partially or fully covers the sun.

The solar eclipse hasn’t been visible across the entire U.S. since 1918, and it hasn’t been visible in parts of the country since 1979. The next solar eclipse in the U.S., covering 12 states, won’t occur until 2024.

So Monday’s eclipse in Delaware, with about 80 percent sun coverage, drew hundreds of spectators, including about 500 people at Brandywine Creek State Park. Holding special eclipse glasses to their eyes, attendants looked up toward the sun in wonderment.

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“It’s a really cool natural phenomenon,” said Lisa Watt, interpretative programs manager for Brandywine Creek State Park. “We wanted to bring families out, have them learn about the eclipse, have them play fun games and activities and join in the fun.”

Frank Bellomo, who teaches astronomy, said it occurred exactly as predicted, but he was still in awe.

“It’s great, because it’s something that’s greater than all of us, and we’re just watching, we have no control of it, and it’s kind of spiritual and helps us realize how simple we are and how great it is,” he said.

Amateur astronomer Lynn King brought her telescope to give attendants a closer look. She said the event will attract more people to science.

“It’s a good way to get science out to the public, and maybe we’ll get some young ladies interested in science, we need more ladies in science,” she said.

Young ladies, like 7-year-old Brianna, said they enjoyed the spectacle.

“It’s pretty cool, and I like how the sun is on the moon, but it’s like the sun is behind the moon and it’s making the moon like a sun color. It was pretty,” she said.

Her mother Diane Rineer said she was just as impressed.

“I think just watching as the time progressed, and it got smaller, and smaller and smaller, and seeing how the weather changed and how it got cooler—you’re never going to see anything like this again, so it was really cool,” she said.

John Frelich, who traveled from Arizona to visit family in Delaware, brought his grandson so he has a memory to last a lifetime.

“[I wanted] to give him a different experience, so he can see what it’s like, he can go back to school and say, ‘Hey, this is what I did,’” he said.

“It’s something that’s unique, and most people won’t see again in their lives—I won’t, I know that. For kids it’s a great experience for them to come and see what’s happening. They may not think much of it now, but in 20 years from now they’ll say, ‘Hey, I remember seeing the eclipse.’”

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