Solar eclipse wows Sussex County

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  • PHOTO BY LAURIE GORDONEmployees from Thor Labs, in Newton, were given eclipse glasses and the opportunity to head outside to view the eclipse. Employee Cameron Matulewski, of Tranquility, enjoyed the view.

  • PHOTO COURTESY VICKI YANAGASophia Yanaga (far left) and her brother, Alexander (far right) watch the eclipse with friends.

  • PHOTO COURTESY LISA PACHNOSJohn Pachnos of Green checking out the eclipse down in South Carolina where his family drove to get a view of the total eclipse.

  • This photo taken by Christine Marie of Stillwater shows the crescent sun during Monday's solar ecipse.

  • PHOTO COURTESY PAUL MICHAEL KANEThie photo shows the moon beginning to eclipse the sun during Monday's solar eclipse.

The solar eclipse was a once-in-a-lifetime magnificent phenomenon that took place on Monday.

Here in Sussex County, it wasn't a total eclipse, but it was close enough to look like someone took a bite out of the sun as only a sliver remained at 2:45 p.m. Here, the temperature dropped about three degrees during the eclipse while in states like Wyoming, the temperature dropped 14 degrees.

No matter where you were, the sight was phenomenal.

Jodie Chadwick of Stillwater was at Lodestar Park in Fredon with her mother.

“It was so great how people lent us their viewers to see the eclipse,” she said. “One person we knew had an x-ray. Who knew that you could look at the eclipse through an x-ray. It was great.”

Outside of Thor Labs' International Headquarters in Newton, owner Alex Cable gave out several hundred pairs of eclipse glasses to employees and made sure everyone had the opportunity to step outside “for the show,” said Ann Paterno who works there. “Those who didn't care to venture out were able to view a live stream video shot by a rooftop telescope system built by our own engineers from our products,” she added. “The video was available live on the company website during the event and was very cool.”

In Wantage, Shawna Bengivenni, who owns and operates Fresh as it Gets Gardens, watched it from her garden through a welding helmet with her farm helper, Shannon.

“We couldn't get a good picture but the funny thing is that my chickens went to bed!”

They re-appeared after it was over.

Lisa Pachnos, who lives locally and works in Newton, drove to South Carolina to get a view of the total eclipse.

“We went at the behest of my husband, Nick, who studied meteorology in college — and is a self-professed weather geek — with my children, Katie (25) and John (16) and sister-in-law, Mary from London and my daughter's boyfriend, also named John, from New York,” she said. “We arrived in Charleston this morning and wandered the town which was packed with tourists trying to decide where to view the eclipse. We finally settled on Marion Park which was directly across the street from our hotel because it seemed a bit more mellow than some of the other locations.” Pachnos added. “Many bars and restaurants were promoting the use of their rooftops, but we wanted to be more in a wide-open location. We were surrounded by people of all shapes, sizes and colors and all ages. Some were in wheelchairs and there was a group doing yoga. Someone was playing music and one Charleston native made the rounds telling anyone who would listen not to waste the opportunity to come together and make something positive happen as a result of this experience. It had been a cloudy day, so anytime the clouds parted and the sun-- in its diminished state poked through-- people would cheer like they were at a sporting event. As the sky darkened, swarms of dragon flies swooped in and birds started diving for low-flying insects. When the sun was completely obscured, people clapped and cheered and then it thundered! It was awesome in the truest sense of the word and incredible how much light was still provided by the sun even when it was just a sliver.”

Deborah Drumm of Stillwater was with her granddaughters in Watertown, Mass.

"We came out of a trampoline park and everyone was so friendly, sharing their 'solar glasses' with us,” she said, “ It was quick but beautiful to see. My nephew and his wife even had the eclipse reflecting on their wedding rings.”

Sheri Young, who visits Sussex County in the summer from her home in Rockaway said, "I kept wondering what it must have been like say 200 years ago when no one knew what was going on. How scary this must have been, right? And did many people go blind afterwards? Must have made it even worse.”

The sun's diameter is about 400 times larger than that of the moon, but the moon is a whole lot closer which makes a solar eclipse possible.

Pachnos summed up what this once-in-a-lifetime experience was all about. “It was uplifting and made you feel good about what we all have in common instead of focusing on the lesser things that tend to divide us.”

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