Several dozen fans of celestial bodies congregated at the Perry Public Library Monday during the noon hour to watch the long-anticipated solar eclipse.
Safety glasses were distributed to those who gathered, and when the supply ran out, those with the glasses were more than willing to share with those without the protective lenses.
Amateur space nerd Joe Cerwinske was on hand to explain the what and why of this special eclipse.
After receiving precious little rainfall this summer, the Perry area received a poorly timed shower or two that threatened to spoil all the fun, but the precipitation stopped just after 12 p.m., in what turned out to be perfect timing.
The overcast skies might have dampened some of the effect of the eclipse, but they also — as one youngster said — kept the crowd from straining their necks for several minutes at a time.
Brief breaks in the cloud cover allowed for clear views of the moon sliding almost completely between the earth and the sun, creating the cosmic wonder.
The next solar eclipse to be visible in the continental United States will occur April 8, 2024, on a patch stretching from southwest Texas along the Appalachian Mountains and through Maine.
While the greatest length of total darkness Monday lasted approximately three minutes, the eclipse of Aug. 12, 2045, will have a full blackout more than twice as long. That event will be visible on an arc stretching from northern California across the U.S. and through the panhandle of Florida.
Those gathered outside the library ranged in age from infants through senior citizens, and few were worried about the next such event, focusing on the wonder at hand.
“This is the coolest thing I ever saw!” one youngster said. “I wish it happened every year!”