Locals watch eclipse from the Exploratorium

August 1, 2008 12:08:33 PM PDT
A spectacular overnight celestial event brought out hundreds of people to San Francisco's Exploratorium for a sleepover.

The scene of the total solar eclipse in the skies above the Gobi Desert in China brought thousands out to the desert to see the event live and in person. A similar scene could be seen on the big screen at the Exploratorium.

"Many people have seen a partial eclipse, but it's rare to see a total eclipse because only a small portion of the planet can see it. That's why we have our cameras positioned on China," said Exploratorium physicist Ron Hipschman.

The all-nighter was also a cultural event with a Chinese dragon eating the sun, only to spit it back out, allowing it to shine again. The live, fully narrated broadcast was enough to bring Vanessa To and her two children up from Redwood City.

"I thought this would be a great way to bring my kids to introduce them to scientists and astronomy," said To.

For Marguerite Etemad of San Francisco, it was a chance to pass along information to her grandson.

"I saw a solar eclipse when I was a kid and it was a surreal experience in the 60s and I wanted to bring him here to see it himself. We couldn't afford to go to China," said Etemad.

There was no need to go for her grandson, Olorin, who got a lot out of watching it on the big screen.

"It makes you feel so small you know. It makes you feel like you are a a part of something much bigger than yourself," he said.

It was a memorable event for those who managed to stay awake for the 4:08 event.

For those of you wondering when you can see a total solar eclipse from the United States, there will be one starting in the northwest and on over the midwest and down south in 2017.


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