Texarkana students already awaiting next solar eclipse
KSLA News 12. Jasmine Payoute. August 21, 2017.

Students at Edward D. Trice Renaissance Elementary Magnet School were taking in the sights as they witnessed the solar eclipse Monday in Texarkana, Ark. 

"I believe I can fly.... I am flying," one student said looking toward the eclipse with his special NASA approved glasses.

From 11 a.m. to just after 1 p.m. the students watched as the moon passed in front of the sun, something it hasn't done since 1979. 

"It is the first time in 99 years that we've had an eclipse that could be seen in the entire United States," said Dilbert Downy, a professor in Texarkana.

While some people were scrambling to find shades, school officials say they were prepared. They ordered 1,000 pairs for students and parents alike. 

"We started planning for it this summer, just kind of talking about it," said Assistant Vice Principal Bryan McDonald. "Some of our teachers were very enthusiastic about getting it off the ground. So we just kind of rolled with it." 

The school also set up a Sunspotter for those who stopped by and didn't have the proper eyewear. The device helps see what the sun looks like without wearing the glasses. 

"It makes the sun a little bit darker. And it's actually perfect for viewing this sort of things where you again want to filter out that bright light. And it makes a spot that I would say is about 4 inches across," said Texarkana College professor Delbert Dowdy.

Dowdy adds that the kids are never too young to witness the universe in action. 

"They were so excited about it... we had a little assembly on Friday and I explained what was going to go on."

The students say they already are awaiting the next one - in 2024. But Dowdy says they won't have to wait that long.

"What was really nice is this is not a once in a lifetime. In 6 years from now there will be another partial, but in 7 years from now right here in Texarkana - they'll be able ... the same kiddos to see a total eclipse of the sun," Dowdy said,

Dowdy says the projection of the next occurrence of a partial eclipse in Texarkana is expected to occur in 2023, and a total eclipse is expected in April 2024.

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