Adam Kammin, left, and his nephews and niece looking up at the solar eclipse April 8 at Homewood Public Library. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Feature

Crowd gathers to watch the solar eclipse outside the Homewood library

Adam Kammin, left, and his nephews and niece looking up at the solar eclipse April 8 at Homewood Public Library. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Adam Kammin, left, and his nephews and niece looking up at the solar eclipse April 8 at Homewood Public Library. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

About 50 community members gathered outside the Homewood Public Library (HPL) to watch the partial solar eclipse on the afternoon of Monday, April 8.

While Homewood wasn’t in the line of totality, the moon covered about 94.9% of the sun at the peak of the eclipse, according to a map from NASA.

Some community members brought lawn chairs while others sat in the library’s outdoor seating. Others stood as they looked up at the sky.

The HPL passed out hundreds of eclipse glasses, but ran out shortly after the official start of the watch party at 12:30 p.m., library staff said. Many community members took the glasses and left to watch the eclipse elsewhere.

Librarian April Holmes left the watch party to pick up more eclipse glasses from State Rep. William Davis’s office in East Hazel Crest, returning with a big stack of glasses for anyone who still needed them.

Party attendees Winnie Neal and Tina Callahan shared their supply with community members. Neal said that before the day of the eclipse, she purchased two packs of six glasses online.

Neal and Callahan attended the eclipse watch party with other members of the Cornerstone Christian Center in South Chicago Heights.

Judy Andrews, left, adjusts her eclipse glasses while standing next to Tina Callahan during the eclipse party April 8 at Homewood Public Library. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Judy Andrews, left, adjusts her eclipse glasses while standing next to Tina Callahan during the eclipse party April 8 at Homewood Public Library. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

“It’s a time for us to draw near to God,” Neal said, explaining why she and her friends were there.

“Oh, my goodness. It’s like a little dot. I ain’t never seen anything like this before,” Callahan exclaimed after putting on her eclipse glasses and looking up at the sun.

Homewood resident Adam Kammin was at the eclipse-watching party with his nephews, niece and sister’s in-laws.

“This is a once-in-a-generation type of thing. We’re lucky to see it two times in a decade,” Kammin said. “Better cherish it.” Homewood residents last marked the eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.

“It looks like Pac-Man,” proclaimed Kammin’s nephew Ben Airey, commenting on the shape of the sun as it got smaller.

The eclipse reached its peak at 2:07 p.m. This is the same time as when totality was reached in other parts of the country. Community members murmured excitedly as the sun turned into a little sliver in the sky. 

The brightness of the sun became noticeably dimmer. Paradoxically, it didn’t feel darker outside the HPL. It didn’t feel like dusk but like something else entirely.

“It’s like wearing sunglasses,” Holmes said.

“It’s not that it’s dark. It’s not that it’s turning into night,” Homewood resident Courtney Williams said. “It seems that the atmosphere has shifted. It’s a little bit gloomier.”

The wind got suddenly lighter during the peak of the eclipse as well, Williams noted.

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