More than a thousand people turned up for the world’s biggest light show Monday and, despite having to share protective eyewear to see it, few if any left disappointed.
An estimated 1,100 descended on the Newhall Library Monday morning for a chance to see the solar eclipse safely through the use of protective glasses, according to library staffers.
Many attendees turned up, however, to find the glasses had all been handed out.
Krysta Olsen got the library with her son, Aiden, at 7:45 a.m. and found six people in line ahead of her.
“It’s a once in a lifetime event and I wanted to be a part of it. I came to the library early and they were all ‘sold out,’” she said, referring to the free protective glasses handed out at the library.
Tickets to be redeemed for protective glasses were given to early eclipse watchers.
“Although we ran out of pairs to give away, we had a sharing table with glasses,” Angela Chadbourne, library spokeswoman told The Signal Monday.
“Attendees who did not receive a pair of glasses were able to take turns using glasses to view the eclipse.”
Ironically, the shortfall only made it that much easier for sun-gazers to meet and share in the rare event.
When seven-year-old Brady Poole, of Valencia, noticed seven-year-old Cole Stueve of Acton standing under the intense morning sun without a pair of foldable protective glasses, he offered to share the ones he had.
“It was so sweet of him to think of my son,” Cole’s mother, Karen, said.
The Coles made the early morning trek from Acton in order to see the eclipse safely using the eyewear library officials said they had.
“The library received a grant from Star_Net of 1,000 pairs of eclipse glasses,” Cadbourne said, noting about 1,100 showed up for the library’s “eclipse viewing party.”
The eclipse began about 10:20 a.m. and was over within an hour as the moon moved between the earth and the sun.
For some, the eclipse was a spiritual and deeply personal event.
“It’s a once in a lifetime event and I wanted to be part of it,” Rose Anaya, of Canyon Country, said of the eclipse: “I think this might be the beginning of a special new age.
“It’s a sign of hope for us, a sign for everyone to unite in harmony and peace.”
According to NASA, Monday’s solar eclipse – when the moon passes between the sun and Earth – blocked all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end. The longest period during which the moon completely blocked the sun from any given location along its path was about two minutes and 40 seconds.
The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.
David Jay, of Canyon Country, was 13 when that eclipse happened.
Jay, who went to the library Monday to share in the event, said he was on a cruise a couple of months ago when he was given a pair of protective eclipse-watcher sunglasses by a cruise-going NASA worker.
“I think it’s really cool,” he said, sporting the eye wear and looking up at the crescent sun.
Nicole Rubsamen and her two children – daughter Eden, 10, and son Easton, 7 – took turns looking at the partially covered sun.
“You can see the moon when it’s over the sun,” Eden said.
Parts of Oregon and Washington state each experienced a total eclipse of the sun.
“My cousin lives in Salem. She told me she’s thinking of renting a room out for $700 (to avid eclipse watchers),” she said, referring to the boom in tourism to towns experiencing the total eclipse.
Eclipse watcher Thomas Troesch, caught the attention of other sun-gazers when he mingled through the throngs of upward-looking spectators, sporting a curious metallic headgear fitted with bulbs and – with the press of a on switch – a display of a blinking digital lights.
“The purpose of the helmet is that it enhances the cosmic experience by projecting it deeply into my mind,” said Troesch, smiling at first and then laughing loudly.
The handcrafted headgear was a donation made to the Assistance League Thrift Shop store a block from the library, which Troesch thought would be fun to wear at the popular cosmic event.
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