‘Look! The moon is making the sun smile’

The Dias Family gathered at Conservatory Lab Charter on Monday afternoon to take in one of the most awesome celestial events they might observe in their lifetimes. Jacqui and John Dias are shown viewing the eclipse with their children Miracle, Malachi, and Micah at the moment when the sunlight turned strangely dim. Seth Daniel photo

With protective glasses adorning hundreds of faces – and the moon moving slowly in front of the sun – Conservatory Lab Charter School students and families enjoyed a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on Monday afternoon in the schoolyard on Columbia Road.

Students with their decorated glasses and parents gathered at learning stations, where faculty and staff used the opportunity to talk all about the rare astronomical event called an eclipse while a choir incorporated the school’s musical mission.

Northern New England was the place to be on Monday to get the full extent of the blacking out of the sun by the moon in mid-afternoon, but viewers in Dorchester were hardly shut out of the happening: Almost 93 percent of the sun was obscured by the moon, resulting in a darkening around 3:25 p.m. that left the sun appearing as a crescent when viewed through protective glasses.

“Hey, look! The moon is making the sun smile,” remarked Micah Dias, a student at Conservatory Lab, as he looked skyward at the celestial spectacle.

According to NASA, the next total solar eclipse viewable from the contiguous United States will occur on Aug. 23, 2044.

Sara and Charlotte Hanson watched the entire event from when it started at 2:16 p.m. and ended around 4:40 p.m.

After School Director Allida Warn rang a bell to signal the time of maximum coverage of the sun.

Conservatory Lab parents Millie Brooks and Tanesha Gray observed the moon slowly moving across the surface of the sun.

Hundreds of students, parents, and staff stood with eyes focused on the eclipse during the afternoon.

After learning the astronomical mechanics of how an eclipse happens, mother and son Altagracia and Matthew Perez marveled at the event as it played out on Monday afternoon.

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