Under the Same Sun in Holyoke

by Terrence Smith

Dozens of representatives of the Holyoke community and its demographics, including Mayor Alex Morse himself, gathered on the front lawn of the Holyoke Public Library Monday afternoon for a free show not on this Earth, but among the stars, in the form of the solar eclipse. The Library provided free protective  glasses for the event.

The viewing followed a Library showing of the 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” to mark the stellar event, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe about “the groundbreaking story of three black female mathematician[s] who helped shape the NASA space program,” according to the Library email announcement.

Monday’s solar eclipse was the first time in 38 years, according to Nasa’s official eclipse web site, that a chain of states from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast was able to see the moon’s silhouette completely overlap the sun’s silhouette.

While Western Massachusetts residents were only able to see a 66% eclipse at 2:44 P.M. that Monday afternoon, it was no less a spectacle that unified whites and Hispanics for an event that brought the entire nation, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, under one lunar umbrella. It was an event that reminded us all that we are merely passengers on a ride through the clockwork of the universe.

The next total solar eclipse that will be seen from the West Coast to the East Coast, from Northern California to Central Florida, will not be until August 12, 2045, but New Englanders will get to see their own total solar eclipse when it will have a path from Texas to Maine on April 8, 2024 (Time).

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