Where were you for the 1979 solar eclipse? A trip down memory lane

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Do you remember life in 1979?

Gas was $0.71; Jimmy Carter was president.

Let's go back specifically to February 26, 1979. That date is significant because it's the last time Huntsville viewed a partial solar eclipse.

Many residents will never forget where they were or what they saw that day. "It was a big deal when I was in high school," recalled David Lilly. "I was at the old library on Fountain Circle and I guess like what we're about to do this Monday, we had gone outside when it started."

It was an eerie experience. "As it began to get dark, I remember the temperature dropping a couple of degrees and the wind started blowing. Not hard, but it was kind of strange because it had been real still."

The animals knew something was up. Neighborhood dogs barked around him "and maybe some birds making some noises. They were disoriented maybe by the lack of light."

A sight that lasted no more than 3 minutes. "It was strange," he remembers.

Back then, there were hardly any versions of solar glasses. Believe or not, people use boxes and pieces of paper to view the eclipse. "We figured out putting a pin hole in one piece of paper and looking at it through the other." This created a reflection of the eclipse on paper.

As he looks back, David Lilly says it was an experience like none other, "I can understand how people if they didn't know science could be frightened by this." And he looks forward to his next viewing. "This is going to be much more dramatic. So yea, I'm really excited about it."