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Ponca City celebrates eclipse with solar eclipse viewing party

Peggy Browning
Jeff Withey made an eclipse viewing box from a shoebox.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
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Ponca City,OK—Sun worshipers and moon gazers of all ages gathered on the lawn at the Ponca City Library to view the 90% eclipse seen in north-central Oklahoma.

Kathleen Auschwitz, youth services librarian at Ponca City Library, planned the event. She applied for a grant from the Space Science Institute in early spring in anticipation of the solar eclipse. She received approval from the Institute in June. The grant provided official solar viewing glasses and information about the eclipse.

Library staff handed out the glasses and made a party of the event with bags of popcorn, glasses of Tang (the beverage of the astronauts), and Fireball jaw-breaker candy.

George and Nina Hanggi came from their home at an assisted living facility to take in the view. George is a World War II veteran and survived both the Battle of Hurtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.

“My niece said this no big deal, but it certainly is!” Nina Hangii said. “We’ve looked forward to this. My brother saw the last one, but we were still working, so we didn’t get to see that one.”

Jeff Withey viewed the eclipse the safe, old-fashioned way. He fashioned a viewing box from a shoebox as his mother did many years ago. He sat on the library lawn along with all the other viewers.

“I didn’t want to take a chance with the glasses because I worried that I might get a pair that was defective and harm my eyes,” Withey said.

The last full solar eclipse that passed over the U.S. was February 26, 1979. It passed over the Northwestern states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. 

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Peggy Browning

Peggy Browning is a freelance journalist and writer, born and raised in Joy, Texas. She recently...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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