Sunday 15 September, 2019

Trinis flock to view solar eclipse

Taken at the height of the event, the Sun was covered approximately 62 percent in area. Photo courtesy Joel Mattison

Taken at the height of the event, the Sun was covered approximately 62 percent in area. Photo courtesy Joel Mattison

Scores of people attended viewing parties across Trinidad to catch a glimpse of the much-anticipated partial solar eclipse Monday afternoon.

LoopTT visited the Queen’s Park Savannah, where the Caribbean Institute of Astronomy (CARINA) hosted an event free to the public.

The eclipse began at 2:36 pm, reaching its height at 3:51 pm and ended at 4:57 pm.

Owing to the July/August vacation period, families came out in their numbers to witness the spectacular event.

Special eclipse glasses provided by CARINA quickly ran out as everyone was eager to have a look at the eclipse as it progressed, which resulted in long lines at the telescope set up for those wishing to have a closer look at the event.

Director at CARINA, Graham Rostant, explained that the significance of today’s event.

“The Sun, the Earth and the Moon have all lined up, more or less in a straight line, Because of this, we are seeing the Moon block the surface of the Sun.

Now the reason for the drama in the news is that it happens to be falling right across the whole United States and they’re in a state of high excitement because it’s the first time it’s happened in 100 years.

Here in the Southern Caribbean we aren’t getting the beauty of a total eclipse, we’re only getting a partial eclipse, but still it is a rare enough event for us.”

Rostant said Trinidad and Tobago has not experienced such an event for quite some time, so it was a good opportunity to come out and check out the wonder of nature.

For those who may have missed today’s event, they have an opportunity to experience a total eclipse August 12, 2045 – the first in over a century. Rostant said this was guaranteed to be a special event.

One mother from Port-of-Spain, Cindy-Ann Collymore brought her two boys along with her to be a part of the event.

“I know it’s not something that happens very regularly so we took the opportunity to bring the boys to come and see the eclipse because it’s momentous.

We took the opportunity to talk to them about the solar system as well.”

Commenting on the eclipse, Collymore described it as fantastic, adding that they were there for the duration of the event so they missed no part of the experience.

The boys were excited by the eclipse as well.

Collymore added that she hopes that she would be around for the total eclipse in 2045, telling her grandchildren about today’s event.

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