Guttenbergers enjoy the Great American Eclipse

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Allysa Sadewasser experienced the solar eclipse alongside her younger brothers and other youth at a park in Garnavillo. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

Guttenberg experienced almost 90 percent coverage of the sun during the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. The partial eclipse began at 11:47 a.m. and reached its maximum at 1:12 p.m., ending at 2:35 p.m. Residents watched the event in a variety of ways, from live streams on the internet and pinhole cameras to gatherings with friends. 

Staff at Clayton Ridge High School took a break from preparing for the first day of classes to view the eclipse, both through a protective welding helmet and through a pinhole camera built by chemistry and physics teacher James Pfaffly. “Scientists say it was 90 percent covered in this area, and it definitely appeared that way. It was pretty cool to see the moon phases as it passed in front of the sun,” said Clayton Ridge Business Manager Dave Schlueter, who used a welding mask.

Noon hour swimmer Laurie Fangmann, at the Guttenberg pool, borrowed a pair of eclipse glasses to peer at the sky as the moon overtook the sun. “It was really cool!” said pool manager Jessica Cline. “I'm glad I brought my glasses to the pool so other people could experience the eclipse, too.”

Kann Manufacturing employee Noah Sadewasser also used his welding helmet to keep an eye on the sky. “I saw the whole thing. It was pretty cool,” he told The Press. In Cheyenne, Wyo., Sadewasser’s brother Kevin Reddy experienced totality from the roof of a 1920s firehouse. “It was really neat seeing a 360 degree sunset. The temperature dropped 10 plus degrees. The light was similar to twilight. It certainly was a neat experience,” said Reddy. “We were down town and the plaza was full. The roads were crowded.”

Sadewasser’s three children, Allysa, Kyle and Lucas, viewed the eclipse through glasses under the supervision of their babysitter Val Schmitt. “Kyle really liked it when it started to look like a crescent. He was very worried about Lucas. He was warning him all morning, ‘Don’t look at the sun, Lucas! You’ll go blind!’” Schmitt told The Press. “Kyle’s Boy Scout troop did a really good job explaining safety and doing human demonstrations of what was actually going on.”

Becky Hefel told The Press she planned to bake an eclipse cake, draw eclipse pictures and watch the eclipse on television with her grandchildren if it was cloudy – but in spite of the overcast day, the sun did shine long enough to be overshadowed by the moon. Hefel recommended a special eclipse activity to her friend, local yoga instructor Caroline Rosacker. 

“I participated in a World Peace Meditation. Very powerful stuff,” said Rosacker, who also observed nature during the celestial event. “I am especially curious to see if my morning glories will close and my moon flowers will open!” After the eclipse, she reported that there was no reaction from her plants. “They must bloom by an internal clock, not one temperamental to light and dark – which in my eyes makes them pretty amazing little plants,” she noted.

Guttenberg native Kayla Kyle, now working in downtown Phoenix, Ariz., reported that her office building provided glasses, frozen yogurt and cookies to employees and allowed them time to watch the eclipse from the courtyard. 

From a courtyard in Guttenberg, guests of River Park Place joined millions of others across the nation in viewing the first eclipse to pass through the U.S. in 38 years – and the first with coast-to-coast visibility in almost a century. Lunch at River Park Place featured meteor meatballs, a galaxy of goodies, and Martian juice. 

Those not looking to the skies looked to NASA, which streamed live interviews and video during the moments leading up to and during the total eclipse as it occurred in various cities across the moon’s path. Images were provided from spacecraft, NASA aircrafts, high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, who witnessed the moon’s dark shadow pass over the earth’s surface. The Guttenberg Public Library welcomed patrons to use its computers for following NASA's coverage of the event. 

The next total eclipse visible from the United States will be on April 8, 2024. The closest point to Guttenberg on the path of totality will be in southern Illinois and Missouri.

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