A look back at 1979 eclipse in Williston

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WILLISTON, N.D. - Williston is no stranger to eclipse viewing. Another major eclipse happened in town more than 30 years ago.

In 1979 Williston looked to the sky to see a complete eclipse. Our own Dwayne Walker was here for the event.

"It's totally different than the one we just experienced because it was a total eclipse. It was in the winter time and the ground was white and it was cold," said Walker.

It was a February day when the moon went in front of the sun right over Williston.

"You know, we're used to cold temperatures in North Dakota, but you could feel the temperature change as soon as we hit totality. You could feel the air temperature changing and the fact that things got quiet and it got dark," said Walker.

With such a major event, Walker was concerned his batteries wouldn't last long enough to film the spectacle. "Those Nickel-cadmium batteries were only half as good in the cold, and I only had so many batteries to shoot the eclipse," he said.

In addition, engineers told Walker not to shoot at the sun for fear it would damage the tube cameras used at the time. "Well, how can you do a story on a total eclipse of the sun if you don't point the camera at it? So I came up with my own filters," Walker explained.

The gamble worked, and he was able to get stunning footage of the eclipse. Today he was in Sturgis filming the second major eclipse of his career.

Walker said: "It's pretty awesome, I think, to be able to cover both of them. It would have been nice to have this second one to be a total eclipse, but time didn't allow us to make it to Casper."

While Williston didn't experience a total eclipse Monday, those who were there remember the last time the moon blocked the sun from view.

The next major eclipse will be in 2024.