November 21, 2017
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  • Severna Park residents gathered on the library lawn to view the eclipse through special glasses.
    Photo by Gracie Fairfax
    Severna Park residents gathered on the library lawn to view the eclipse through special glasses.
  • Severna Park residents gathered on the library lawn to view the eclipse through special glasses.
    Photo by Gracie Fairfax
    Severna Park residents gathered on the library lawn to view the eclipse through special glasses.

Severna Park Residents Gather To Watch Eclipse

Gracie Fairfax
Gracie Fairfax's picture
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September 7, 2017

On Monday, August 21, people from across the nation gathered outside to view a solar eclipse. In Severna Park, residents flocked to the library to grab a pair of eclipse-viewing glasses donated by STAR_Net, which partnered with NASA and Google to provide libraries across the country with free glasses. While the Severna Park Library was able to get 1,000 pairs for free, there weren’t quite enough to fit the demand of excited amateur astronomers.

In addition to providing glasses, library employee Stephanie Kapadia gave a lesson to children and parents alike about the science behind the eclipse and how to view it safely. Children and parents played with cereal box viewers and shone flashlights near them to simulate what they were about to experience together outside on the library lawn.

“They were very excited,” Kapadia said. “I think they mostly just wanted the glasses to go out into the world and view it, which is totally understandable. I think the kids — I was surprised at their answers, so they were actually listening, which is a positive thing.”

Area resident Joe Scholle saw an eclipse when he was in college in New York about 50 years ago and was excited to have another chance to view one. While he was glad to view it from the grounds of the library, there was another place he thought might be a bit more interesting.

“I used to be pilot when I was in the service. I’d like to be on one of the old spy planes,” Scholle said. “They’ve got two spy planes right now that have started chasing the eclipse from the West Coast, and the whole idea is they could double the time of totality so they could take their measurements. … You take what you can get.”

Scholle shared his glasses with Eric Burggraff, who last viewed a partial eclipse 38 years ago through bottles of water and various indirect methods, but the sky was overcast the previous time. He felt the experience at the library was far better as he was able to view the eclipse directly through the glasses and share the event with people in the community.

Also on the lawn was Fatima Shaw, who is originally from Africa. She remembers eclipses happening during her childhood, but her town didn’t have the materials to view it directly, so she found it amazing to see the eclipse so clearly through the glasses. She watched it along with a few others at the library including Kathleen Sievers, who found the sight more spectacular than she had imagined.

“It’s so crisp with the glasses on, and you can see the moon and the sun together,” Sievers said.


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