Delaware wasn’t in the path of totality, but eclipse enthusiasts at the Brandywine Creek State Park were still awestruck when the Moon slid in front of 76% of the Sun at about 2:45 pm.
Wilmington resident Amisha Shay said she was happy she decided to trek to the State Park instead of watching at home. “It’s much better than I expected — something you never expect to see in your lifetime. It’s cool to be part of a big community witnessing something for the first time together.”
Many of the 500 visitors to yesterday’s history-making event came prepared with approved viewing shades, and the Park also gave away 135 to the first entrants. Families with young children also made their own camera devices for safe viewing.
Using a cereal box, a pin, aluminum foil and a hole puncher, 10-year-old Justin Searl made his own glasses. “I built a Cornflakes projector box to see a reflection of the sun through a few holes in the box.”
Along with Justin, 9-old Emma Robinson was part of the group of families that came together to enjoy the eclipse. “I thought it was amazing. I didn’t really think it would be this cloudy. But then when I put the glasses on it was really cool.”
For a better glimpse, the astrological society set up two solar-filtered telescopes, and park visitors could ‘walk the solar system,’ make their own viewers, and partake in ‘citizen science’ to observe how tadpoles and other animals react during the eclipse.
Matthew Loring, age 11, didn’t think yesterday’s partial eclipse quite measured up to his expectations but is already looking ahead to 2024. “I thought it was going to be all the way covered. For the next solar eclipse, I’m going to drive myself to the full eclipse area.”
Nine-year-old Sarah Johnson echoed observations expressed by a few others, who were hoping to witness a more profound effect. “I thought it would be darker, but it did get cooler.”
Matthew Johnson, age 10, was happy to witness Monday’s rare celestial occurrence. “I saw two circles being sort of like forced together, with one of them shadowing the other. It was very cool.”
The viewing party at the Brandywine Creek State Park was the largest among the state parks. “We’ve got some of the best viewing here at our park with the awesome hills and tree shade,” said Lisa Watt, the interpretive programs manager for Delaware State Parks. “And while several states with totality had cloudy skies, we are fortunate that the skies here in Delaware are pretty clear.”