OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska residents are sharing decades-old stories about the last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the state as another one approaches.

Dennis Riesselman was 12 and living in Butte, Nebraska, when the eclipse took place on June 30, 1954. He said his mother woke him at dawn that day and drove them to a hilltop to see the moon cover the sun.

“It just got completely dark,” Riesselman said.

That eclipse extended 8,000 miles from the U.S. through Canada, the North Atlantic and Eastern Europe before finishing in India, the Omaha World-Herald reported .

The newspaper predicted Omaha would see a “black sunrise” that day with 96 percent of the sun obscured. But clouds gave Omaha residents an underwhelming view.

“I’m not sure I remember it at all,” said Joe Workman, who was 12 and living in Lincoln at the time of the 1954 eclipse. Lincoln experienced a situation similar to Omaha.

Like Butte, areas in the far north region of Nebraska saw the total eclipse.

“The sky was clear as a bell when the first rays of the sun peeked over the horizon,” the Holt County Independent reported at the time. “Within a few minutes the sky became darker until the sun was totally covered. A faint circle of light could be seen around the edges of the sun.”

Riesselman is now 75. He said he’ll head south from his Omaha home to watch the Aug. 21 eclipse.

Workman and his family also plan to be within the path of totality this month.

“I thought maybe it’d be once in a lifetime, but maybe it’s twice in a lifetime for him,” said Workman’s wife, Tina.

Viewers in a 70-mile-wide path that stretches from coast to coast will be able to see the moon fully eclipse the sun that day. After this month, Nebraska won’t see another total solar eclipse until May 3, 2106.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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