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Spectacular


Locals gather for 'once in a lifetime' solar eclipse



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August 23, 2017
ATTICA TWP. — With a clear view of the southern sky, the Attica branch of the Ruth Hughes Memorial District Library was an ideal spot to view Monday's solar eclipse.

Dozens of people gathered outside the library and in the adjacent park to view the phenomenon in the sky.

"We heard there were telescopes here and we didn't have eclipse glasses, plus this is one of our favorite places around," Jane Kelley said of her and granddaughter Brianna's decision to head to the library.

Those telescopes and accompanying expertise were provided by members of Seven Ponds Nature Center's Astronomy Club, including Attica's Paul Luotonen, a 10 year member of the club.

Their equipment was fitted with special filters that allowed viewers to see the eclipse without any kind of eye protection.

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Brianna Rodriguez-Kelley and her grandma, Jane Kelley, enjoy the view of Monday's solar eclipse from the grounds of the Attica Township library. photo by Maria Brown.
Luotonen said he opted to stick close to home for this eclipse but he's traveled in the past to get closer to the action. He said while viewing a partial eclipse in the Atlanta area in the 1980s, the street lights came on.

Locally, viewers noted a slight dimming of the sun's rays and a temporary drop in temperatures at the height of the eclipse, just before 2:30 p.m. Michigan was not in the path of totality, but experienced about an 80 percent blockage of the sun.

"During an eclipse, scientists are able to learn so much about the sun and its outer atmosphere," Luotonen said.

"The next eclipse will happen in 2024."

Sophia DeCook, her mom Michelle and sister Stella sought shelter from the sun inside the library building where staff offered hands-on projects for kids. They then grabbed eclipse glasses, provided by the library, to head outdoors and see if for themselves.

"We were already out for the day and decided to come here to experience the excitement of the eclipse," Michelle said.

Carolyn Ellis and her family made the trek from Rochester Hills to visit her grandma in Attica for the day and decided to hop back in the car and head to the library.

"We figured this was a once in a lifetime event," her mom, Lori Ellis said.

Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she and her family reside in the Capac area where she enjoys gardening and reading.
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