Sometimes a t-shirt can say it all.
Hopkinsville, Ky – the point where the sun, moon and earth align perfectly to create the best two minutes and forty seconds in astronomy.
WSLM and WRLW TV was in Hopkinsville, Ky Monday for the Total Eclipse in an area deemed as the point of greatest eclipse by NASA.
It was a big day for a small Western Kentucky town that saw the unveiling of an eclipse-themed moonshine from a local distillery, an eclipse-theme stamp unveiled by the US Postal Service and visits by the Governor and Lt. Governor of Kentucky, as well as other local and regional officials.
Check out this link for photos from the day – ECLIPSE PICTURES
The point of greatest eclipse is actually a point in time, not a physical place, said Renee Weber, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Actually, it’s when “the axis of the moon’s shadow is pointed most directly at the center of the Earth,” Weber explained on NASA TV. Weber explained the point of greatest eclipse is when the shadow of the moon, or umbra, is more circular there than anywhere else in the world.
Hopkinsville happens to be the place on the surface of the Earth where that alignment occurs.
Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks said that’s why the town earned the nickname “Eclipseville.”
“We got a phone call 10 years ago from a scientist who told us about this and asked if we were already booking our rooms,” said Hendricks. “Four years ago NASA designated us as the point of greatest eclipse. And that’s when everything started falling into place that this was going to be a significant event – bringing in visitors from all over the world.”
Folks came from Wisconsin, Japan, England, New York, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas and all over the midwest.
In fact, the Voodoo Bone Lady travelled from New Orleans to be at the eclipse.
She is the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans and travelled over 9 hours by car to get to Hopkinsville.
She had along with her a bag of bones as well as her Chinese-Mandarin Rat Snake.
“I’m here in Kentucky,” she said, “to pray for peace. What’s happening the last few weeks, I’ve realized the country’s going towards division. So much hatred and bigotry. I just want there to be unity. I’ll be doing a ritual today for unity and peace.”
NOVA was following a group who travelled from the east coast to see the eclipse.
The New Yorker sent a couple to experience the eclipse along with many other media outlets from around the country and overseas.
Thousands of people descended upon the Hopkinsville area; their original estimate was about 150,000.
Although those people were spread out in virtually every field and open space around the area, the throngs tied up outlets leaving Hopkinsville for hours afterwards.
The eclipse experience only lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds and a darkness descended on the area much like a pre-sunset.
The moon moved ever closer to blocking out the sun, leaving only a sliver of light and then – darkness and the corona bursting out from around the edge of the moon.
Special lenses and eclipse glasses were removed and sounds of people gasping, cheering and hooting filled the fields.
As the moon – moving at 1500 miles per hour – slipped to the east, the sun’s glare burst back into view, requiring the replacement of glasses and lenses.
Within another couple of minutes, everything was back to normal except the feeling that everyone had experienced something unique and special and extremely galactic.