Students catch glimpses of solar eclipse

Published 3:30 pm Monday, April 8, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Shrill voices filled with joy and excitement carried across downtown Brookhaven Monday afternoon. The source of the cheers was a class of fourth grade students at Brookhaven Elementary School as they viewed a total solar eclipse. 

BES math and science teacher Ayonna Brown-Johns reminded her class to keep their glasses on as the children craned their necks for a peak at a special celestial event. Shouts of celebration and glee came with each moment the sun and moon peaked out from a curtain of clouds. 

At first, it looked like the students would not get a chance to view the eclipse. They scanned the dark, storm cloud filled sky for any hope of light. Wind pushed clouds along and eventually offered a break in them for students to see them. 

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“Can you see it?” one student asked, “I see green in my glasses,” said another, “the clouds are moving again,” another student exclaimed. “I saw something,” one yelled, “I saw the smallest bit,” another student said. 

A collective shout of “Yay!” came with the first clear view of the total eclipse. “It is so beautiful,” a little girl said. “Once in a lifetime,” said a young boy. 

Brown-Johns took a chance to educate the class “Notice how it is getting closer and closer to totality.” Arianna McDaniel, a fourth grade student, described the opportunity to view the eclipse during school as fun. Thankfully, the weather cooperated to allow for some sights of the eclipse. 

“It is amazing. I’ve never seen it before,” she said. “I can see it very clearly with the glasses. It makes me happy. I’m glad I can see it now.” 

Rain started to spit out of the sky as Brown-Johns explained she had taught her class about how an eclipse of the sun works. They had watched USA Today coverage of the eclipse beginning in Mexico and went over safety before going outside to watch the event. 

“It is an important experience. It is a once in a lifetime event. I wanted them to have a chance to see it,” Brown-Johns said. “I was worried about cloud coverage today. We were frantically searching for the eclipse. I’m glad we got a chance to see it.” 

The best opportunity for Mississippi to see a total eclipse of the sun will be August 12, 2045. After then, total eclipses will be visible again for the southern US in 2078 and 2099.