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Many disappointed over clouds covering rare solar eclipse

By William Yanek, Online Co-Editor

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After all the hype, the moment finally arrived at 1:07 p.m.

On Monday, a solar eclipse went across the continental United States, the first one to do so in nearly 100 years. Some cities were lucky enough to see a total eclipse, however in Lawrence the percentage of the sun covered was 99.3 percent at its peak at 1:07 p.m.

“I’m feeling really good, I’m hoping it’s all going to work out and the clouds move out of the way, and we get a good view,” freshman Tanner Ashenfelter said. “[My family] is really excited. It’s obviously a big deal.”

While many Lawrence residents just went outside to the view the eclipse, some went to an eclipse viewing event at Shenk Sports Complex where they would be joined by the KU Department of Physics and Astronomy as well as the KU Natural History Museum to learn more about the cosmic event.

“[KU has] a big thing going on down at 23rd Street at the sports complex. I drove by there on the way here and it was packed,” KU-LHS astronomy liaison Brian Schafer said. “I know they were really proud about that, and they’re ready. They’ve got boxes of the glasses.”

Some teachers and students at LHS were not just interested in the eclipse itself. The effects of the eclipse on wildlife were also interesting to observe as their natural rhythms of light and darkness were disrupted for a few minutes.

“I’m really excited about the eclipse because we watched it as a simulation video that said the animals should be responding to the eclipse, so we’re going to be watching for the birds to go back to their nests and looking for nighttime insects to come out,” biology teacher Lisa Ball said. “I’m really interested in the biology aspect of it.”

The excitement was palpable when telescopes were set up by astronomy teacher Andrew Bricker and hundreds of LHS students bounded outside to see the event. However by the time 1:07 p.m. came along, many were disappointed as clouds rendered it impossible to view the eclipse in all its glory.

“I am slightly disappointed that it’s really cloudy; it seems like when something really cool is going to happen, something bad happens,” freshman Micala Sisson said. “In Lawrence there has been a lot happening for it, but for the school, it doesn’t seem like people are excited for it.”

Even with the disappointment, to many it was worth the effort to try to see a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“It’s neat to share the experience with the entire school and Mr. Bricker having all these telescopes out here to help us out,” anatomy teacher Jo Huntsinger said. “It’s a once in a lifetime kind of thing, and we thought we needed to do it.”

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The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.
Many disappointed over clouds covering rare solar eclipse