Celestial show

The solar eclipse over Bowling Green Ohio on Monday. Several local residents make the trek southeast of Michigan to see a total eclipse. Photo: Dustin Scriven.

By David Fleet
Ortonville — For a few minutes Monday, the moon stole the suns show plunging temperatures, bringing street lights to life and craning necks skyward.
On April 8, millions across North America witnessed the moon cover the sun as a solar eclipse raced across the country prompting complete darkness in some areas and about 95% in much of southeastern Michigan.
Locally, donning eclipse glasses about 200 Harvey-Swanson Elementary students in the Brandon School district gathered at the playground to watch history.
Peggy Miller-Zelinko, a Harvey-Swanson fifth grade teacher prepared the students prior to the eclipse arriving in Michigan.
“We watched the eclipse on CNN as NASA reported its progress coming across the United States starting in Texas and heading northeast,” said Miller-Zelinko. “The students learned their geography before the event. It was great that the students were able to watch together as a class and noted the darkness, drop in temperature, winds and really felt the impact of the eclipse. They were excited.”
While many watched the eclipse in Michigan several ventured southeast to experience the totality.
Brandon Township resident Heath Zietz along with his family made the trek to the Indy Motor Speedway and joined more than 50,000 who gathered with NASA for the Total Solar Eclipse.
“It was serial,” said Zietz, who captured the eclipse with a variety of lenses which included his 7 year old son Horatio, sporting an iconic Pink Floyd, “Dark side of the moon’ T-shirt. “At the point of total darkness, which was gradual like a dimmer switch, the crowd cheered. I also realized how fast the event occurred throughout North America. NASA was broadcasting to major cities from Mexico, Texas, Arizona all the way to New York and Maine, and from where it started it was only about 1 hour. It was a very fleeting moment in time.”
Zietz, attended the Aug. 21, 2017 solar eclipse.
“In 2017 you could see the shadow of the eclipse moving across,” he said. “I was in Memphis Tenn. for the event and it was hot and humid. We could hear the crickets start chirping and frogs too.”
Like Zietz, area resident Dr. Dustin Scriven headed south from Ortonville to witness the totality. He described the total eclipse as, ‘Where the sky was blue it was now black.’
“This eclipse was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Scriven, a 2011 Brandon High School graduate who earned a Bachelor of Science in astrophysics from Michigan State University and recently a doctorate degree in physics at Texas A&M, who was in Bowling Green, Ohio to see the totality. He joined around 5,000 who gathered at Bowling Green University for the event.
“The partial eclipse was very exciting, and as it got close to totality the lighting changed in a strange way that made it appear as if it was dusk, yet there were still shadows cast all around. Probably the Ortonvillians experienced something similar.”
Totality was way more impressive than I expected, he said.
“We heard a few hundred people around us ‘aww’ when the totality started and the sun vanished completely,” he said.
“There is no single or collection of photographs that can represent the experience well. You could see the full bluish gray disk of the moon and the sun’s corona made it appear as though it had an aura. We were able to see three planets in the sky simultaneously, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn.”
“The horizon appeared like the sky 30 minutes after sunset, but the horizon was glowing in all directions, not just the west. Street lights came on and we could see the lights of trucks still driving on I-75 had become illuminated. It was an amazing experience that I hope to chase again in the future.”

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