By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Family Man 8-9
Clouds could rain on our eclipse
Placeholder Image

Like many of you, I’m very excited about the prospect of getting to watch the total solar eclipse on the afternoon of Aug. 21. From what I understand, we’re going to have a huge event in downtown McMinnville, complete with a Pink Floyd cover band doing "Dark Side of the Moon."
It is quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime event, 99 years in the making. And, thanks to our geography, folks in the Nursery Capital will have one of the best views in the world when the moon eclipses the sun. Sure, there is another solar eclipse for the United States in 2024 that will be viewable for a large part of the East Coast but it won’t be near the totality we will get to enjoy here in Warren County.
So, given the fact our little town will be one of the best places in the entire world to view this cosmic spectacle, and we will likely be the destination for many astronomy enthusiasts, all we need to do is get our viewing glasses. Oh, by the way, make sure you have approved glasses to view the eclipse since you can get permanent eye damage by viewing the event without them and you won’t even know until it is too late. This is also true with your cameras. We’ve ordered sun filters for our still and video cameras here at the paper since pointing them directly at the sun would damage their inner workings.
Anyway, the table is set and all we need now is the sun. However, there is no guarantee nature will cooperate. The entire once-in-a-lifetime spectacle could be ruined by something as random as a little cloud cover. I know this because it’s happened before.
When I was in eighth grade I had a passion for two things – astronomy and getting out of school by various nefarious means. I was a regular Farris Bueller. So, when there was a solar eclipse scheduled for a school day, my truant mind began racing. Mind you, this wasn’t a total eclipse like the one coming up, but it was to be a partial which would be fun to view. I already had sun filters for my two telescopes so I was ready.
I was able to convince my mother I needed to be home to witness the eclipse since the school didn’t have a telescope. So, after a bit of convincing, she wrote a note to my teacher.
“Duane has permission to check out of school early today if it is sunny,” the note read.
Guess what. There wasn’t even a hint of sun that day. It was so cloudy you couldn’t even really tell a change in the light when the partial eclipse did happen on the other side of the thick cumulus. My chance to get out of school early was foiled, as was my chance to view an eclipse.
With that being said, let’s just hope Aug. 21 isn’t a repeat of that gloomy day 38 years ago. Mom has already written my note.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.