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Local Astronomers Share Telescopes with Public at Golden Pond

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Sydni Anderson, WKMS
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West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers gathered outside of Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory to view the eclipse.

White sheets were pinned to the grass to reflect solar bands and WKAA members with telescopes surrounded the building. While one astronomer handed out solar-viewing glasses for free, others allowed the public to look through their scopes.

 

The total solar eclipse lasted two minutes and thirteen seconds at Golden Pond. When the sky turned dark and the temperature dropped, eclipse-viewers celebrated the event with cheers and applause.

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Credit Sydni Anderson, WKMS
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Astronomers pointed on either side of the eclipse where Venus and Jupiter became visible. West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers Outreach Coordinator James Phfistner said the eclipse was more than he had been expecting.

 

“It’s going to be difficult for me to say A,B or C was the best part until I’ve probably slept on it for a day or two because everything was remarkable. I especially liked seeing the diamond ring effect and the Bailey’s Beads,” Phfistner said.

 

Phfistner said he had goosebumps leading up to the eclipse and was in awe. WKAA member Rose Wallace said the eclipse was thrilling and it was funny to see everyone clapping over an event they had no control over. She said she is looking forward to the next total solar eclipse in 2024 and will hopefully have a better telescope to view it with.

 

WKAA member Robb Wallace said interacting with the public was enjoyable.

 

“Watching people when they look through it [the telescope] and go ‘oh wow’ is what makes it worthwhile,” he said. “That’s going to make this sunburn worthwhile.”

 

Eclipse-viewers began packing up minutes after totality but the Western Kentucky Astronomers stayed by

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Credit Sydni Anderson, WKMS
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  their telescopes.

 

“It’s just as interesting to watch the moon pass over the sun,” Phfistner said.

 

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