Thirteen-year-old Judah La Rose was generous about sharing the special and much sought-after special light-filtering glasses through which he viewed today’s rare total solar eclipse.
“There’s no point in keeping them. I’d have to wait 99 years to use them again. I’d be 114 years old and I’d be blind by then,” said the witty and mathematically-minded incoming Sound School freshman.
Still when he viewed the eclipse at around 2:45, the moment of near “totality” when about 60 percent of our star was covered by the moon’s shadow, he pronounced what he saw “cool” and proceeded to try to make a photograph and send the image of the historical moment to himself.
Judah was among more than 100 sun-gazers, roughly four times the number of people who visit the Fair Haven Branch Library on a summer’s afternoon, who gathered there for one of the city’s many eclipse-watching parties.
While younger kids with their parents or care-givers made images of the sun with crayons on paper, including rotating constructions of how the three celestial bodies line up to make today’s eclipse, older kids and adults were gathered downstairs in the branch’s community room to catch the NASA channel feed projected on a screen.
Periodically, as more of the sun was shadowed, children’s librarian Martha Blume corralled the eclipse-watchers to go outside with the glasses and view what one kid, Nick Velez, called the eating away of the sun, as if by Pac-Man.
The Munitz family of East Haven was there in force, including brothers Christian, Santos, and Johan. Santos, who said he’d like to study astronomy; he was impressed and intrigued.
The experience of watching the eclipse, he said, “made me think that the universe is so big, but what else is out there? It really makes you think.”
The 11-year-old Skojec twins, Angelina and Rachael, who go to the Helen Street School in Hamden, must have had a good dinner last night because they compared what they saw through the glasses to food.
Rachael said what she saw reminded her of what it’s like when you’re wrapping up lasagna and you have one piece of foil, but it’s not big enough and you need another.
“You can’t wrap up a watermelon, the whole. You need pieces of foil,” Angelina added.
Angelina also had expected the shadow on the sun to be bigger, but learned, from the programs, posters, and dioramas in the library, that the eclipse viewed from Fair Haven was partial.
Branch librarian Morrison said he is excited about the interest generated by the eclipse and has been taking calls for a week about obtaining those glasses, which Judah was so casual about.
He gave away a few select pairs during the week but then sent some of the supply that had been sent to him from the central branch back, because they had run out.
On Monday afternoon he had 100 pairs to give out to people who had started coming by as early as 10:30 a.m.As some people left with them, by around 2:45, when the totality was wowing gazers craning their necks up to the sun, people were sharing happily.
Morrison said the science-interest is going to carry forward to more STEM programs at the branch.
That’s going to include a monthly coding club to be run by the children’s librarians Martha Blume and Tyshawna Neal; word is they’ll be teaching Java, Scratch, and Python to a beginners and an intermediate group; check the branch’s site for more details as September rolls in.
Before she went out to view the eclipse with glasses provided by the library, Shari Hoffman said, “I wanted to be able to say I saw it. Because of my health, I’ve missed out so much, I don’t want to miss out on this.”
And she didn’t.