Photos: Rockville Centre locals bear witness to a total solar eclipse


Dozens of Rockville Centre residents gathered outside on Monday afternoon to catch a glimpse at an astronomical event that won’t take place again for another 55 years.

The total solar eclipse crossed North America on April 8, entering through Dallas, Texas around 12:23 p.m. Central Time, and exiting through Caribou, Maine at 4:40 p.m. Eastern Time.

Parts of northern New York were in the path of totality, as the moon completely covered the sun and caused day to become night for about four minutes at approximately 3:20 p.m.

On Long Island, only about 90 percent of the sun was covered by the moon, which was enough for many residents to bare witness to something that won’t happen in New York again until 2079, according to Forbes Magazine.

During the school day, second graders at Wilson Elementary School in Rockville Centre completed a fun coloring assignment in preparation for the solar eclipse. In order to experience this phenomenon with their families, students in the elementary schools were picked up early on Monday afternoon.

“They are very excited,” Rockville Centre parent Patricia McDowell said, as she watched the skies from the Village Green on Maple Avenue, with her two sons, Brady and Patrick. “I picked them up from school early to watch this.”

Throughout the afternoon, people gathered in the different parks and fields around the community in order to bear witness to the total eclipse. By about 3 p.m. the sky began to grow dimmer as the moon began its path in front of the sun.

“It’s a once in a lifetime event,” Rockville Centre parent Jennifer Corrigan said, as she sat and watched this majestic spectacle from Tighe Soccer Field, near Mill River, with her daughter, Kylie, and her two friends, Taylor and Nina. “I think it’s the coolest thing.”

To make this special event even more memorable, Rockville Centre resident Ben Doyle was outside at Lister Park with his family to celebrate his birthday during the total solar eclipse.

Solar eclipses are much more than just a visual splendor. These awe-inspiring events have driven numerous scientific discoveries for more than a century.

NASA scientists continue to study eclipses to make new discoveries about the sun, the Earth, and space. Total solar eclipses, such as this one, are particularly important because they allow scientists to see a part of the sun’s atmosphere — known as the corona — which is too faint to see except when the bright light of the sun is blocked by the moon.

By studying the innermost part of the corona, which is visible only during a total solar eclipse, astronomers hope to answer fundamental questions about how heat and energy are transferred from the sun out into the solar wind.

To learn more about NASA and the important scientific study of total solar eclipses, visit