Blair County saw a huge demand for cardboard framed glasses holding filtered plastic last Monday; the residents bought the glasses to watch the solar eclipse. The plastic blocks almost all effective light from the sun, and allow for safe eclipse viewing. The solar eclipse was observed over Altoona and other parts of the United States. One buyer of such plastic goggles was Hanna Perrin. The 15-year-old gazed in wonder through her newly bought solar glasses from the public library located at Hollidaysburg Area.
Darkness and glasses
The eclipse was at its peak at 2:40 pm when the moon cut off approximately 80 percent of the sun's total light. The local economy was not prepared for this kind of enthusiasm. Local stores found themselves selling off their eclipse viewing glasses quickly. Approximately 600 individuals stood patiently in line on August 18 for about 200 glasses. Those who were not successful the first time around lined up again on August 21, only hours prior to the eclipse event, for about 162 pairs. Police were sent to the place to ensure security.
According to Melanie Ramsay, Director, Youth and Children's Services, a federal grant to make 1,000n solar glasses was received by Saint Francis University's Science Outreach Center. The university library received a portion of the money. The sunglass was the library's most sought after program.
Wonderment and science
The sunglass program had a number of beneficiaries. Two of them were Jordyn Glass, a seven-year-old girl, and her mother, Melissa Wertz. They shared the enthralling experience of viewing an eclipse for the first time together with the glasses they received from the library. Recounting the experience, Wertz described it as an amazing one, more so as she had her daughter with her. Mother and daughter saw the eclipse from Chimney Rocks Park. It began at 1:15 in the afternoon and those who were directly under its shadow felt the earth cool down by 2:38 pm. The light of the sun dimmed. Although the sun was almost blocked by the moon, a slice continued to be visible. It was then even too bright to be stared at by naked eyes. Viewers could see the sun through solar glasses. They saw the moon move and block the sun. The next eclipse will take place in 2024. Pennsylvania is all set to be covered at that time by the shadow of the sun. Incidentally, the August 21 eclipse was the maiden coast-to-coast eclipse which was seen from the US in 100 years.