Libraries, banks and opthomologists stocked up on viewing glasses so people around McHenry County could view the partial eclipse of the sun. Eclipsomania caused them to run out of glasses a week or so before the event. Children and teachers stepped outside to partly cloudy skies, equipped with certified glasses, welder’s masks, pin-holes through cereal boxes, and instructions for seeing the eclipse by watching shadows. Younger children stayed home with parents or grandparents and watched holding cold beverages on a sweltering patio.

Linda Rudnick, from Marengo, an employee at MCC, participated. She said that she’s a lifetime learner and it’s something that’s happening now, so of course she participated.

In the Marengo-Union area, the moon partially eclipsed the sun, covering approximately 87%. It was a cloudy day; still, the special glasses, cardboard cutouts, and shadows allowed people like Rudnik to experience movement of the moon in front of the sun. “Without glasses, you could go about your whole day and not know the eclipse was happening,” said Rudnick. “Viewing the moon moving in front of the sun was really interesting.”

Some residents planned vacations or weekend getaways, so they could experience the TotalityIn short, residents of McHenry County got swept up in the eclipsomania with the rest of the nation.

The Sanchez families, from Marengo headed for Hopkinsville, Kentucky where Jill Sanchez grew up. Hopkinsville had two minutes and 40 seconds of totality, one of the locations with the longest amount of total eclipse. Jill and Jerry and their daughter, Addison (10) and son, Nathan (8) joined other family members including Laura Sanchez and her family.

“It was so much more exciting than I imagined,” said Jill. “The kids were just in awe of it. Especially, Nathan; he got very emotional.” She thought it would be fun, but not as exciting as it was.

Sister-in-law, Laura Sanchez said, “It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I would love to see it again.” She traveled to Kentucky with her husband Jim and her youngest son Nick. Another observer commented on the difference in the darkness experienced during the Totality, compared to night as a deep blue, but not black. “You could see there was light in the distance,” and “People looked washed out, or ashen, in the Totality light.”

The family viewed the totality just outside of Dawson Springs on a country road, free of town lights. They saw a darkened sky, Venus shining brightly in the sky, and heard crickets chirping. Everyone spontaneously cheered and clapped when the sky darkened and they could shed their eclipse glasses and look at the moon covering the sun.

It was completely worth it,” explained Jill. “I hemmed and hawed about going, but I’ll definitely do it again in 2024.” She went on to say that “It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t seen it. Amazing doesn’t quite capture the experience.”

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