JACKSON TWP. Hundreds of people came from Stark and Summit Counties to watch the moon cover the sun during Stark State College’s solar eclipse watch party on Aug. 21. The main parking was filled with people sitting in lawn chairs, eating lunch or gathering with their co-workers.
The temperature was in the mid-80s and the sun was bearing down on the blacktopped parking lot. People gathered under the shade of the trees lining the area, while others got in line to try to get a pair of the free solar eclipse glasses.
Claudia Barr, physics and chemistry department chair at Stark State, set up up a telescope with a solar filter on it for people to look at the eclipse. The line of people to view it through the telescope wrapped around the parking lot.
By 1:10 p.m., the moon began blocking the sun and by 1:40 p.m., Barr said about a third of the sun was blocked.
"We got more of a turnout for the Solar Eclipse Party then we had thought we would," Barr said. "We were handing out free glasses but I think we ran out. We also set up four telescopes for viewing the eclipse."
Most people were looking at the sun through the free glasses or sharing their glasses with others who didn’t get a pair. Some brought along their own viewing items such as boxes with pinholes in them or square pieces of welding glass. Others were taking photos of the sun with their phones.
Stark State had several tables setup with information about the eclipse, including a group from Beta Beta Beta Xi Zeta Club from Stark State. Students were informing people about eye damage if they looked directly at the sun.
Ohio experienced a partial eclipse. The path of totality - when the moon covered the disk of the sun with only the corona visible - covered 14 states. The list of states where the full eclipse was seen included Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North and South Carolina.
Many expressed their amazement and everyone was excited to see a phenomenon that only could only happen once in one’s lifetime. The next total solar eclipse in America will be in 2024 and Ohio will be in the totality path.
As for the 2017 solar eclipse, the crowd at Stark State’s Solar Eclipse Watch Party started to thin out around 2:40 p.m. as the moon started to move out of the sun’s path.