BYRON – The clouds didn't want to cooperate, but they couldn't ruin the solar eclipse for those gathered at the J. Weiskopf Observatory in Byron on Monday, Aug. 20.
“In spite of the cloudy weather, I think people enjoyed the eclipse,” said Vicki Funke, manager of the observatory. “An eclipse is an awe-inspiring event! What other event in nature can be shared by so many people at one time?”
Individuals and families gathered at the observatory to view the eclipse, in which the moon covered about 87 percent of the sun in our area. They used special eclipse glasses to see the event safely, and could also view it through the telescope at the observatory, which was fitted with a special filter.
Along with the clouds came some rain not long before the peak of the eclipse, but people just covered up and stayed.
Funke, of course, enjoyed the event.
“I like the fact that viewing an eclipse gives everyone a perspective of what it means to live on Earth,” she said. “Earth is the only planet in our solar system that experiences total solar eclipses. The sun and the moon are at just the right distances from Earth to make a total eclipse possible. Because we are totally dependent on the sun for life on Earth, it's a bit disconcerting when the sun disappears.”
The next total solar eclipse will be on April 8, 2024 and will be visible from the U.S. For that one, Funke has one hope.
“Maybe we'll have better weather for that eclipse.”