Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

It has been almost 100 years since the last solar eclipse travel across the United States from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

On Monday, Aug. 21, places across the country were filled with people eager to get a chance to watch the stellar phenomenon.

Though south of the path of totality, Wellington residents were treated with the site of a 91 to 93 percent eclipsed sun depending on who you asked.

The Wellington Public Library hosted a watch party that ran from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Though the eclipse started at 11:36 a.m., when the moon made first contact, the show did not truly start until closer to 1:04 p.m. when the moon was at peak coverage.

Along with the outside viewers, the library offered live coverage on television from national news stations on the television in the meeting room.

This was helpful for some viewers as they were unable to locate a pair of the special viewing glasses.

The Wellington Public Library kept 200 of their special glasses to hand out to people on Monday, but those were quickly picked up by the line of people waiting for the party to begin.

Glasses were also handed out by the library at their two informational session the last two weeks, with a large crowd gathering last week to learn more about the eclipse.

For some in attendance, this was the first time they have seen an eclipse. For others it was their second or third time.

For Wellington resident, Virginia Rayl, this is her second chance at seeing an eclipse.

“This is my second one, I saw one in the Carolinas a few years back,” she said. “They are so awesome and fascinating. It is interesting to think that the moon is in between us. I wasn’t going to miss it. I was late getting here, but it was worth it.”

For Heather Ledesma it was important that her two boys, Karl and Angelito, had the opportunity to see the eclipse for themselves.

“I just didn’t want them to miss it,” Ledesma said. “I think it was pretty cool. I think when I was in elementary school we had an eclipse, and the school shut down all the blinds so we couldn’t see anything. It was exciting to see, but mostly for my kids.”

Both boys eagerly said yes when asked if they enjoyed the show.

Library employee, Monica Kern, who’s husband works for NASA assisted with the planning of the classes and the watch party. She was amazed by not only the turnout, but the spectacle itself.

“I think they are always spectacular,” she said. “There are people flying around the world to see one every year. It’s just a huge, emotional event for people. The amazing thing about this one is, no matter where you are in the continental United States, even if you don’t leave your yard, you will at least see a partial. It just encompasses the entire country.”

For Library Director, Jo Plumb, the sheer numbers of people that turned out for the events pleased her.

“We are overjoyed that it turned out so well, beyond what we could ever expect for the turnout,” Plumb said.

With another eclipse happening on April 8, 2024, the library will look at hosting another round of classes and watch party. That eclipse will run from Mexico, through Texas and southern Oklahoma to Arkansas and exit in New England and Canada.

“This is probably what we can do for Wellington as a library,” Plumb said. “We put a lot of work into this and had a lot of fun. We’ve had people from out of town show up and it’s always exciting to show off Wellington and the library. We’ve had call from people 50 to 100 miles away.”