Solar Eclipse Passes Over Central Pennsylvania

West Branch students and staff got to experience the Solar Eclipse.
NASA Science’s photograph of the 2024 Solar Eclipse that happened this past week.
NASA Science’s photograph of the 2024 Solar Eclipse that happened this past week.
Image/Graphics by Abbey Interrante

On April 8, 2024, a rare solar eclipse passed over Central Pennsylvania, and West Branch students and staff, along with their families, had the opportunity to witness it. Although the solar eclipse didn’t reach 100% totality while passing over the area, it did reach full totality when passing over Erie, Pennsylvania. Some students and their families traveled to Erie to experience the eclipse at 100% totality. This eclipse was exceptionally rare for the area and was considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people living in Pennsylvania. There was a semi-recent solar eclipse back in August 2017, but it didn’t pass over Pennsylvania as it did this time. Although another total solar eclipse is set to occur in 2044, Pennsylvania is not in the path of this one.

Leading up to Monday, April 8th, many families prepared for the solar eclipse by purchasing special solar eclipse glasses so they could view it safely. Students and staff had an early dismissal on Monday the 8th to have a chance to view the solar eclipse. The solar eclipse was expected to start around 2 pm, reach totality between 3:15 and 3:20 pm, and end at 4 pm. Unfortunately, around 2 pm that Monday, Central Pennsylvania experienced a rainstorm that obscured the sun. Mrs. Levonick, an English teacher at West Branch, commented, “I am so disappointed by the weather during the eclipse. My family and I sat on our patio hoping for a good view. We caught a few glimpses, but visibility was very limited. The most upsetting part is that 30 minutes after the eclipse ended, the skies cleared and the sun came out.” Many other students and staff, like Mrs. Levonick, were also disappointed by not being able to clearly see the eclipse.

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