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[Photo Story] Solar Eclipse Dims Happy Valley

State College got a little shady Monday afternoon as the first solar eclipse visible from North America since 2017 made its way over the valley.

Typically, around two solar eclipses occur annually, but a spot on Earth is only in the path of totality every 375 years on average, according to Astronomy, and State College landed in a path of about 95% totality for the atypical alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth.

Erie, Pennsylvania, was the nearest point to the path of complete totality, though hundreds of Penn Staters and community members gathered around campus and downtown to take part in the uncommon scene.

Light rain and cloud cover began to seep into town in the early afternoon, causing concern for eclipse viewing.

Still, folks started to populate Old Main Lawn, HUB Lawn, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, and other outdoor campus locations as early as noon to secure spots for the eclipse which lasted from about 2 to 4:30 p.m. overhead in Happy Valley.

Downtown State College sold out completely of eclipse-viewing goggles throughout the weekend and into Monday morning, but Medlar Field at Lubrano Park’s SolarFest provided hundreds of attendees with eye protection, activities, and education during the solar event.

Cloudy conditions proved difficult to observe the display, but each time the sun shined through the gloom, gasps and cheers echoed across town.

Spectators used eclipse glasses, hand-crafted cereal box-based protection, cell phones, and sometimes no eyewear to take in the views of the first visible North American eclipse in six years.

Around 3:20 p.m., the eclipse reached complete coverage in viewing from Happy Valley, and the place we call home dimmed for several minutes before slowly brightening back up following near totality.

One of our staffers traveled to Erie to document the eclipse in its totality for the last solar spectacle visible in the contiguous United States until 2044.

Nearly immediately after the conclusion of the viewing window in State College, the sky cleared for the remainder of the afternoon, and Happy Valley returned to the sight we know and love most.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese and Kevin Jonas. If you'd like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best joke to her email [email protected].

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