On the first of September 2016, La Reunion became one of the few places on Earth where you could witness the annular solar eclipse! An annular eclipse is when the moon is far enough away from the Earth during a solar eclipse, that the outer edge of the sun can still be seen.

The first of September was a Thursday so I was at work at the upper school in St Joseph, I had a group of second-year students to look after during the event. I briefed them on the dangers of looking at the sun, and handed out their glasses. They were really excited all afternoon; jumping around, asking questions. Some were even worried about becoming blind if their glasses became damaged!

The annular eclipse was to pass over central Africa, out over the Indian Ocean and pass over La Reunion early in the afternoon. I reminded the students how lucky they were to be provided with glasses, as it was doubtful that every child in the African continent would be protected against the harmful effects of looking directly at the eclipse.

Back in Saint Joseph, the weather was not great, the sky became overcast late in the morning and it looked like it would not change. All the students gathered outside and looked up at the grey sky. There were groans of disappointment, but we were all still hopeful that the sky clear, even for a second. Twenty minutes passed and the clouds started to disperse just a little. Everyone looked up, hoping that the hole in the clouds would pass between the eclipse and us. And it did! Cheers of joy erupted on the playground! It was like the home team scored the winning goal in the 90th minute!

Every thirty minutes or so another hole would appear in the clouds and the same shouts would sweep over the school! Now this was an interesting way to experience the eclipse!

In total we must have seen it for about a minute all afternoon. I called my wife and James later who were in Saint Paul and Saint Denis respectively, and they told me that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky for them! Ah, well. Maybe next time I’ll have better weather. I think I’ll be about two-hundred…


few – peu
to witness – témoigner
far away – loin
outer edge – bord extérieur
upper school – lycée

to look after – prendre soin
to hand out – distribuer
to jump – sauter
blind – aveugle
to be provided – bénéficier

harmful – nocif
overcast – couvert
to gather – rassembler
to groan – gémir
hopeful – optimiste

hole – trou
to sweep over – engloutir

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