Eclipse 2024: Stargazers flock to Bay Area watch parties to see partial viewing of celestial event – KGO-TV

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Millions of Americans in 13 states experienced a total eclipse on Monday. Here in the Bay Area, we saw a partial 34% eclipse, but excitement was still high.

There were viewing events across the Bay Area for people who wanted to experience it with others.

San Francisco

The Exploratorium in San Francisco welcomed visitors for its eclipse party starting at 10 a.m.

Exploratorium visitors watched the total eclipse broadcasts from Texas and Mexico.

Physicist Dr. Desire Whitmore from the Exploratorium was in Junction, Texas, spoke to ABC7 News about getting ready to watch the sun vanish for several minutes.

“This is my first total solar eclipse. I’m losing my mind a little bit. I have lots of energy,” Whitmore said.

PHOTOS: Capturing solar eclipse from Bay Area, across the US

Dr. Whitmore and her staff broadcasted live from Texas on the Exploratorium’s website and YouTube channel during the eclipse. Texas is one of 13 states that experienced totality — about four minutes of darkness.

Carla Duke was feeling the moment.

“I’m grateful to be here it’s a blessing, it’s a miracle,” Duke said.

The Exploratorium’s Ken Finn is happy eclipse interest is over the moon.

“So many people turning out to be curious and share the experience together to watch that moon move across the sun and delight we’re part of a big cosmic clock in the solar system,” said Finn.

Although the Bay Area only saw a partial eclipse, people still needed safety glasses.

The Exploratorium Store sold out of eclipse glasses.

“We’ve been selling 100 per day. We’re down to our very last stock,” said Samantha Holley from the Exploratorium Store.

RELATED: Where to recycle and donate your eclipse glasses now that the total solar eclipse has passed

She said to make sure the glasses you buy are legit and have the “ISO certified” seal.

“If you don’t have safety glasses, you can do things like observe shadows, you can punch a hole in cards, use a colander or a slotted spoon,” Whitmore said.

Many without glasses got creative watching eclipse shadows with colanders from home and reflections from mirrors.

North Bay

In the North Bay, experts were recommending some wide-open spaces for ideal eclipse viewing, like Lagoon Park in San Rafael.

“It has unobstructed views that look out toward the marsh,” said Marin County Parks Ranger Ian Mclorg.

Ranger Mclorg said the spot near the Civic Center is accessible by the SMART train and bus.

“I’m excited. It’s a unique opportunity to get outside and see something different with a natural phenomenon,” Mclorg said.

South Bay

Foothill Observatory at Foothill College in Los Altos saw people getting more than just an incredible view of the eclipse.

In the South Bay, Foothill Observatory at Foothill College in Los Altos saw people getting more than just an incredible view of the eclipse.

While plenty of kids were at the viewing event, many adults couldn’t help also taking in the eclipse with childlike wonder.

“There’s so many different things in the celestial realm that occur that, we’re not really fully understanding and so if you have an opportunity to see it and maybe ponder about that, and maybe add to the collective consciousness about what’s going on that probably helps to further our understanding,” said Roland Lewis who came to watch from San Jose.

RELATED: When the world and North America will see the next total solar eclipse

The Peninsula Astronomical Society helped host the event, welcoming people to check out telescopes inside the observatory and out.

Though visitors didn’t get the total eclipse view in the Bay Area, most who came to see the partial eclipse say they still got something extremely meaningful. That included astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle who works at NASA Ames Research Center.

“We are here actually sharing space together, so the same space that we as astronauts look back from, and we see no borders on this planet,” she said. “We are actually living that moment where we’re all together, looking up in unison, in unity with humanity and there are no borders between us.”

Experts at the Chabot Space and Science Center say here in the Bay Area, this was our last chance to experience a solar eclipse in our own backyard until 2045.

Bay Area residents arrive back at SFO after seeing eclipse

Millions of people flew and drove to other parts of the country to see the total solar eclipse, many from here in California.

Now that the eclipse is over, the race is on for some to get back home.

Millions of people flew and drove to other parts of the country to see the total solar eclipse, many from here in California.

At San Francisco International Airport on Monday, travelers were headed every which way. You better believe that some of them just saw the total solar eclipse in other parts of the country.

“Was it sort of like, see the eclipse and then go to the airport?” we asked a traveler by the name of Dan Russell.

“Exactly! Turns out you can schedule a Lyft or an Uber ride to pick you up right at the end of the eclipse and it will scoot you back to the airport just in time to catch your flight,” Russell said.

And that’s just what the Palo Alto resident did. He also managed to take photos of the eclipse Monday in Austin, Texas. Those are included in the video portion of this article. Russell stopped in Austin on the way back from Raleigh so he could see friends, and of course the eclipse.

“It was cloudy but every so often there would be a parting in the clouds and you’d see it and then it would go away. It was really nice actually,” he said.

We talked to several people who flew to other parts of the country to see the total solar eclipse and told us they’re not flying back Monday or Tuesday because of the high prices.

Mark Zigler of Concord, who we spoke with Sunday night, was one of those individuals.

He’s not flying back yet but did send us these images Monday of what the solar eclipse looked 2,500 miles away in Ohio. He described it as breathtaking.

Everyone online and off the plane talking about the daytime darkness within its path.

“I came from Texas and I looked at the eclipse. It was really dark,” said 10-year-old Jonathan Cao.

“Very dark! We were planning to see the eclipse but the weather predicted thunderstorms and raining. We gave up, packed everything, and ready to go and then, oh my goodness it’s coming! So we stopped on the road and we watched it,” said Jonathan’s father David.

“The duration was like 3-4 minutes going from the middle of the day to the middle of the night. Yeah very dark, very dark!” said Lanzi Liu who just flew in from Austin.

“It was surprisingly dark. It was very slow to get dark and all of a sudden it got very dark. Street lights came on, birds went away, it was really dramatic actually,” said Russell.

“Was it worth it?” we asked.

“Absolutely, absolutely – you should have gone!”

Maybe next time Dan, maybe next time.

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