Library welcomes sky-watchers for solar celebration next week

Considering the movements of the Earth, Sun, and Moon, there’s a minimum of two solar eclipses but no more than five happening around the world every year. A total solar eclipse is less common, happening only every 18 months or so, and it’s rare that one happens right over your back yard.
There’s no chance Brandy Winn’s going to miss the celestial show April 8, and the Lee-Bardwell Public Library Director is eager to share the experience with other Gladewater residents and visitors of all ages.
“I’m enthusiastic about it,” Winn says, counting down to the mid-Monday event overhead. “I’m not only a history nerd, but I’m a space-exploration / sci-fi person.”
According to NASA’s online Eclipse Explorer, the April 8 eclipse will get underway at 12:25 p.m. in Gladewater as the moon’s transit takes it overhead between the Sun and this spot on Earth. The community will experience totality for approximately 33 seconds beginning at 1:44:51, per NASA. By 3:05 p.m. the whole show will be over for Gladewater.
Find NASA’s 2024 Total Solar Eclipse resources via
At the library, the day’s celebration will kick-off between 11:30 a.m. and noon, and Winn has about 50 pairs of ISO 12312-2 certified shaded eclipse specs for safe viewing. Each donated pair is emblazoned with a firefighter motif.
That’s key for Winn: “We’re going to have a safety meeting before,” she says, determined no one’s going to damage their eyes on her watch.
Anyone is welcome to join the party at any time, and Winn intends to have some shoebox eclipse viewers to share.
“They don’t have to stay here,” Winn added. The specs will be available to everybody until they’re gone. “They can get their glasses and go have fun down at the derrick.
If they stay, though, “We’re going to have a little crafts for kids. I’m also going to give a little history on the aspects of the eclipse,” fact-focused: “We’ll talk about Native Americans and people throughout history who saw portents of doom in the eclipse.”
Winn’s jazzed about the science and being able to experience such a rare event – according to NASA, the next total solar eclipse that will be visible from the contiguous United States won’t happen until Aug. 23, 2044.
For Winn, and hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of others flocking toward the path of totality across the country, that means making the most of April 8, crossing fingers for clear skies and sending the imagination skyward.
“When I was a kid, and even now, I would be an astronaut. I think it’s fascinating,” says Winn, a longtime fan of the 1986 movie adventure, “Space Camp.” For the local librarian, “The aspect of being able to go beyond our world is extremely exciting.”

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