A Science Teacher Promised His Classes In 1978 They'd All Watch The Eclipse Together & Hundreds Showed 46 Years Later

Teachers can have a lasting impact on their students.

man wearing eclipse glasses visionteller / Shutterstock 

Teachers can have a lasting impact on their students’ lives, often in ways that they don’t expect. When you’re standing in front of a classroom of kids, it can be hard to know if they’re hearing you at all, let alone absorbing the lessons you’re trying to impart.

One educator recently discovered just how meaningful he was in the eyes of his students.

A teacher who promised his classes in 1978 that they would watch the solar eclipse together fulfilled his promise 46 years later.

In 1978, Pat Moriarty was in his first year teaching junior high science in Webster, New York.


After one particular lesson covering eclipses, Moriarty told his class that the next time their town was in the pathway of a total solar eclipse, he’d host a party for everyone to watch together.



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Moriarty shared that his students “looked at [him] like [he] was crazy,” as the next total solar eclipse in their area was set for 46 years in the future. 

But Moriarty wasn’t deterred. He continued to invite each of his science classes to watch the eclipse in 2024.

A Science Teacher Promised His Classes In 1978 They'd All Watch The Eclipse Together & Hundreds Showed 46 Years Later Photo: Phil Pasquini / Shutterstock 


He said he’d publish an announcement in the local paper, unless there was a better way to reach people, almost 50 years later.

With the advent of social media, Moriarty was able to access a better mode of communication and announced his watch party through that medium. 

He was hoping that a few passionate former students would show up. He wasn’t at all prepared for how many people actually came.

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Over 100 former students arrived in 2024 to watch the total solar eclipse with their science teacher, Pat Moriarty. 

People came to the watch party fully prepared for a life-changing experience: They brought lawn chairs for comfort, champagne to celebrate, and their old yearbooks for posterity.


A Science Teacher Promised His Classes In 1978 They'd All Watch The Eclipse Together & Hundreds Showed 46 Years Later Photo: Gagliardi Photography / Shutterstock 

They came from all over the U.S., returning to their childhood home in Webster, New York, for the celestial event. 



Moriarty noted that the eclipse became less important than the fact that former classmates and friends reunited after so much time. The experience of being together was more impactful than watching the incredible event in the sky itself.


Solar eclipses bring big changes in our earthly atmosphere. Eclipses also affect how we feel on a spiritual level, with our zodiac signs playing a part.

The next total solar eclipse crossing over the United States won’t occur until August 22, 2044, yet totality will only happen over North Dakota and Montana.

Another total solar eclipse will happen sooner than that in 2026, but the totality will only be visible from Greenland, Iceland, Spain, Russia, and a small part of Portugal. A partial eclipse will be able to be seen from areas in Europe, Africa and North America. 


On August 12, 2045, the lower U.S. will be in the path of totality once again, tracing its way from California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. 

Hopefully, Mr. Moriarty’s passion for sharing this other-worldly experience has been passed on to his students, who will pass it on to their children and grandchildren, creating a contingency of eclipse seekers to carry on his legacy. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture analysis, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.