Clouds were Public Enemy No. 1 across Johnson County on Monday, blocking views of the eclipse in some areas and in others parting just in time to show the event many have anticipated for months.
All across Johnson County, workers, residents and students headed outside on Monday afternoon to try to catch a glimpse of the historic event.
Downtown Franklin streets were lined with people, and workers were peering out business windows. Hundreds flocked to events hosted by Johnson County Public Library branches where they could learn about the eclipse and also get a pair of eclipse glasses for free. And at a group of Greenwood offices, work briefly stopped so workers could take in the sight.
But at one of Greenwood’s busiest intersections at U.S. 31 and County Line Road, little had changed, with traffic flowing normally and shoppers and motorists continuing on with their day.
Cloud cover was a key concern heading into Monday, and it definitely impacted what viewers could see.
In downtown Franklin, as clouds slowly passed over the sky, the brief breaks that allowed the eclipsed sun to shine through were met with cheers from the group that had gathered at the library services center to watch the eclipse.
As the maximum eclipse for this area neared, viewers worried they wouldn’t be able to see the event they had anticipated for weeks and months. But then, the clouds parted, showing just the sliver of sunlight left when the moon blocked the view of the sun — another break met with cheers.
Unfortunately, the same wasn’t true just a bit further north at Pleasant Crossing Elementary School.
Looking up at the sky wasn’t necessary to know when the clouds were blocking the view of the eclipse; you could see it on the children’s faces as they alternated between boredom and excitement. Sadly, the full eclipse — at 92 percent in Johnson County — wasn’t visible there.
Beech Grove resident Nick Trebing, 70, was discouraged with the clouds occasionally blocking his view from his vantage point at County Line Road and U.S. 31.
But for most people around one of the county’s busiest intersections, the eclipse wasn’t much of a concern. Traffic moved as usual. Customers at a nearby gas station were too preoccupied with filling their tanks to glance at the sky, even for a split-second.
“It’s just not a big deal to me. I’m going about my regular business,” said Aaron Smith after putting gas in his car. “A quick look up, but other than that I really don’t care.”
Others said not having the proper protective eyewear played a role in their disinterest.
But for hundreds of others, the eclipse was a reason to skip work, or even allow their children to miss school.
At the White River Township county library branch, eclipse viewers began streaming in two hours before the full eclipse and watched the progress on NASA’s live feed, though the amount of people watching across the nation had overwhelmed the site, causing some glitches.
And 2024 — when Johnson County is in the path of a full eclipse — was on plenty of people’s minds with teachers noting that today’s students will get the chance to view the historic event at least twice in their lifetimes.