Mid-South’s partial solar eclipse sparks awe and smiles

Patchy clouds and spots of rain kept some in the Mid-South from seeing Monday’s partial solar eclipse, but when the sky cleared those who got a peek through their protective glasses were oohing about the bright orange circle with a clear bite taken out of one side.

At Bartlett High School, a flurry of students commented on the rare spectacle while the student body was gathered on the school’s football field for the afternoon’s viewing.

“Once in a lifetime thing,” said Lanerra. “Glad to be part of it.”

Tierney added, “95 percent total eclipse, 100 percent friends.”

Ryleigh said, “Cool that I got to experience it.”

Eryka and Taylor said together, “Our senior year eclipse!”

Math teacher Denise Henry also commented, “Such a wonderful experience for the kids.”

Diego said about biology teacher Jenny Harper, “Seeing my teacher, Ms. Harper, happy about it has been the best part of the eclipse.”

Bartlett City Schools purchased solar eclipse glasses for the entire district to watch the solar eclipse.

In Cordova, St. Benedict at Auburndale High School invested a chunk of the day in the educational experience. Students received their NASA-approved solar eclipse glasses, water bottles and Moon Pies provided by MMI, the school’s dining service.

They had a full slate of classes on a reduced schedule and headed out to the football stadium turf around 11:45 a.m. to noon for the big event. Despite the intermittent rain, SBA students were able to view most of the eclipse.

In addition, some student ambassadors helped the elementary students from nearby St. Francis of Assisi School, who used the SBA soccer field for their viewing event.

Senior Eric Rosenthal said before the eclipse, “This is my first eclipse and really a once in a lifetime experience. I’m excited I can experience with my school.”

Freshman football player Teryco Bolden also commented in advance, “It’s gonna be really cool! I’m not really sure what to expect, but I will be taking it all in.”

Before hosting a viewing of the partial solar eclipse, Agricenter International in Memphis hosted about 675 students for a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) class on the science behind the phenomenon. The class included students from Granville T. Woods Academy, Kate Bond Middle, Belle Forest Community School, Evans Elementary, Hickory Ridge Middle, Brewster Elementary, and home school groups from HomeLife Academy and Homeschool Roster. Students from Shelby County 4-H, Shelby County 4-H Forestry and Wildlife Group, and Crittenden County 4-H were there.

Eclipse chatter across the U.S.

The solar eclipse viewings spanned the U.S. and drew millions to the path of totality. It also dominated Americans’ Internet conversations. Talkwalker.com, a social data intelligence company, provided a peek at the social media buzz:

  • As of 3:30 p.m. EST on Monday, just after the peak eclipse hit the East Coast, there had been 10.9 million mentions of the event in the past seven days. Of those, 8.1 million of those mentions were in the previous 24 hours.
  • Top hashtags on social media included #Eclipse2017 (1,031,205 mentions), #Eclipse (928,384 mentions) and #SolarEclipse2017 (382,215 mentions).
  • Nearly one million mentions online (979,300) centered on eye safety and how to watch the eclipse while protecting your eyes.
  • Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” made a comeback on Monday, with 131,700 mentions online. The singer even performed the song live on a cruise ship during the eclipse.
  • The non-celebrity tweet that remains the most viral about the eclipse came from Tiffany (@tiffauy), who posted a link on Twitter.com to a video from a newscaster on February 26, 1979, the date of the last total eclipse. The newscaster looked to the next total eclipse, in 2017, and stated, “May the shadow of the moon fall on a world at peace.” There were 807,400 people who engaged with her tweet.
  • Kim Kardashian took advantage of the trending topic by posting a photo of her with her children, with the caption “Total eclipse of the heart.” It quickly rose to the most engaging Instagram photo around the eclipse, with 1.4 million engagement.
  • One of the other top posts about the eclipse came from Miley Cyrus on Sunday, who posted a message about the eclipse serving as a tool for unity and peace. It reached 71.1 million people, and 672,000 people engaged with the post.
  • Katy Perry also posted a joke photo on Instagram about the eclipse — with fake glasses made of Eclipse gum wrappers.