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The Great American Eclipse of 2017

The eclipse, as seen from Casper, Wyoming. Photo Credit to Kate Erickson

 The Great American Eclipse of 2017 was a once in a lifetime event. Millions of Americans gathered in the path of totality to witness one of nature’s greatest phenomenon.
My family and I traveled on August 21st to Casper, Wyoming to get in the path of totality. We found a dog park with a crowd of people who were also witnessing the eclipse.
13 year old Sean Thompson traveled from Denver, Colorado to see the eclipse.
“I’m most excited about seeing the eclipse when it gets totally dark. I’ve only seen lunar and partial eclipses, so I’m super excited to see a total eclipse! It was a really long drive, but I hope it’s going to be worth it.”
Karen Kennedy, who comes from Missouri, was focused on more than just the eclipse.
“I’m most excited about being in Wyoming. I’ve come here with my sister and my husband,” she said, while helping her family get on their solar glasses. “I’ve seen both a lunar and total eclipse, but I’m still pretty happy to see this one today.”
The glasses we had to use were ones like you would see in a movie theater, except the lenses were specially made to protect your eyes, and they almost resembled welding glasses. When you put them on, everything was totally dark, almost like you were blind. Except, when you looked in the sky with the solar glasses on, there was a big, yellow orb in the sky. The sun, of course.
But slowly, as time went on, you could see that the sun was beginning to get covered by a black shape.
“It almost looks like Pac-Man,” Bennett Erickson, 12, observed.
This dark shape was the moon, slowly positioning itself so the sun was beginning to get covered.
There were no immediate changes at first. The sky was still bright, the dogs were still running around, and the sun was still shining as bright as ever.
But around 20 minutes before the eclipse that all began to change. When I turned around, and took off my glasses to look behind me, I noticed my shadow was very contrasted. It wasn’t stretched out or fuzzy like a normal shadow would be.
All around me, I noticed that the blue skies were no longer here, and instead, purple-pinkish colors filled the sky, like it was dusk, despite the fact it was noon.
When I turned and put my glasses back on, the sun was nearly completely covered! It looked like I was looking up into a very thin crescent moon.
It felt like time was standing still as the crowd counted down the moments until the totality happened. Almost like a dream, we watched as a tiny sliver of the sun was left, perhaps like you saw in Colorado.
But then, the sun completely disappeared.
An awe-struck cheer erupted from the crowd as we looked up into the sky and saw the total eclipse.
There was no sun or moon in the sky, only a silver ring. A white light surrounded the ring. It looked like a beautiful halo from heaven.
For two minutes, the crowd watched, took pictures, and celebrated under this strange ring in the sky. In the distance, we could here fireworks erupting, and people whooping.
Then, after a few minutes, the diamond ring effect began, which signaled to the crowd it was time to put our glasses back on.
The Janis family, consisting of Laurie, Tom, and their son, J.P, were in awe. “That was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!” Laurie was amazed. “We’ve seen partial and lunar eclipses, but never total!’’
“We traveled from Evergreen, Colorado,” Tom explained. “We all thought it would be an important event to witness.”
It certainly was. Despite the fact that there was a 12 hour traffic jam on the way home, and despite the fact that we got home around midnight, that experience on August 21st is something I wouldn’t change for the world. 

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