County residents ready for solar eclipse

You are never the same after viewing a total solar eclipse. Those who have experienced one find themselves craving the next and may even travel the globe to repeat the experience.
There will be a solar eclipse next Monday, Aug. 21. Fortunately, weather permitting and with proper equipment, all of the people who live in continental United State will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. Those in a narrow, 70-mile-wide strip of land running from Oregon to South Carolina will have the chance to view the total eclipse.
Many people will drive to this “path of totality” where they can view the moon fully covering the sun. Those that do will be rewarded with a most awesome view of what looks like a black sun surrounded by gossamer streamers of pearly bluish-white light hanging in a twilight sky.
The partial eclipse (which must always be viewed with special equipment, such as solar glasses, No. 14 welders glass, a projected image of the sun, etc.) looks more like a featureless crescent Moon. According to those who are enthusiastic about this kind of heavenly phenomenon, the difference is like playing the lottery verses winning the lottery. A partial eclipse will be visible in Vermont on Monday between 1:30 and 3:50 p.m.
Paul Walker of Middlebury is one of those determined to take advantage of how “close” the total eclipse is. He is planning to drive “only” about 1,200 miles to his Tennessee viewing destination.
Walker is secretary of the Vermont Astronomical Society (VAS) and produces its quarterly newsletter. He has been an amateur astronomer since childhood and his large homemade telescope gets regular use in the back yard.
There are other local members of the VAS, with perhaps 20-25 of the 60 members taking road trips to “totality” in locations stretching across the country. Planning for this event has taken place over several years and Walker has carefully packed two small telescopes and spent time choreographing and practicing the steps needed to record the event.
One of the main reasons for being present for the eclipse is to actually be present. So, if there is a problem with recording, the back-up plan is to just watch and feel the experience.
Information about the eclipse:
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Jan Walker of Middlebury.

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