By Isabel Campos
On August 21, the United States put on their protective glasses to gaze at the rare occasion that is a solar eclipse. At St. Mary’s some took to the field, while others traveled to different parts of the country to be in the path of totality. Read their eclipse explorations here!
On August 21st, at around 1:25 p.m., St. Mary’s girls - along with many others across the country - watched the total solar eclipse, hopefully, through their protective glasses. While a majority of the upper school witnessed the eclipse from Southard Field during lunch, some took the once in a lifetime opportunity and chased the eclipse to other cities, and even states, to achieve the most optimal view.
Chloe Starns (10) traveled to Carbondale, Illinois to watch the eclipse at Southern Illinois University. The drive with her family took about four hours on the way there and seven hours on the way back because of construction and a large outflow of people. In Carbondale, the totality of the eclipse lasted for about two minutes and 30 seconds, but Chloe says, “it was almost apocalyptic because everyone was silent just looking at it and all of a sudden all these insects started chirping.”
Willing to spend a few more hours in the car, Kennedy Hamblen (11) and her family went on a nine hour drive to St. Joseph, Missouri, where the eclipse only lasted for two minutes in totality starting at 1:06 p.m.
Kennedy says, “It was cloudy for a lot of the eclipse, including during totality, so we couldn’t see the moon when it completely blocked out the sun. However, it did get dark, and there was orange light on the horizon, like a sunset except from all directions. Even though we didn’t get to see the moon, the total eclipse was still exciting because of how quickly it got dark.”
Mrs. Ray, who traveled to Nashville to witness the 2017 phenomenon, says, “the total eclipse, I knew it was going to be outstanding and wonderful and I looked at pictures and I looked at NASA, but it far exceeded my expectations. It was magnificent. Next time I am going to find a place that lasts the longest or close to the longest and that’s where I am going.”
However, driving extensive distances will not be as necessary to view the next total eclipse, which will occur in April 2024. Though the 2024 eclipse will still only attain 98% totality in Memphis, nearby places such as Little Rock and Hot Springs will reach 100% totality.