Central Texans attend solar eclipse viewing parties

- Social media is blowing up with solar eclipse pictures. Experts are calling it the most observed and most photographed eclipse in history.

Many people celebrated the rare event together at viewing parties across Central Texas.   

From old to young all ages got to take part in the celestial event.

"It's really cool because it barely every happens in America. I mean, we didn't get to see the total eclipse but it was just amazing. It was flawless," said Cody Caciola, student, St. Gabriel's Catholic School.

Students at St. Gabriel's Catholic School watched in amazement. They were out on risers for the peak of the eclipse, embracing the learning opportunity.

"I like researching stuff like this before it happens. It was so cool to see YouTube videos about it and things like that, then to actually see it in person it was amazing," said Cadence Layne, student, St. Gabriel's Catholic School.

The University of Texas held a viewing party of their own with the Astronomy Department Heliostat. Lines wrapped around the building, thousands of people wanted to take a glimpse.

"When they constructed the building, they made this hole in the roof up here to direct light from some mirrors on the roof into this classroom. So we actually have a live projection of the sun going, where multiple people can see it at once. Because it's a projected image, it's completely safe to look at," said Lara Eakins, Department of Astronomy, University of Texas.

Outside, people were sharing eclipse glasses and their different pinhole camera creations. FOX 7 viewers also sent in a bunch of photos. Many of them used their phones to capture the beautiful images. If you missed Monday's eclipse, no worries because there are two more coming up.

"We'll have what's called an annular eclipse in October 2023. It will be about 85-to-90 percent eclipse here in Austin. San Antonio will be on the center line for that, so they will actually see a ring of sunlight around the moon. The moon just won't be quite big enough to total eclipse it on that one. Then April 8, 2024 mark your calendars," said Eakins. 

That's when we're expected to see a total solar eclipse in Austin. Even if you keep your eclipse glasses you may have to get another pair by the time 2024 comes around. Some state: "Discard and do not use after 3 years."
 

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