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Central Texans watch solar eclipse

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
WACO, TX (KXXV) -

Central Texans attended several eclipse watch parties in the area to watch the partial solar eclipse on Monday.

Libraries, such as Waco and Hewitt hosted the festivities offering glasses and other options to view the phenomenon.

In Hewitt, the Central Texas Astronomical Society had a telescope and a digital camera with a solar filter attached to a telescope that took pictures of the eclipse every minute. Those photos could be seen on a computer. 

"Anyone that witnesses a total solar eclipse will never forget it because it is once in a lifetime phenomenon," Central Texas Astronomical Society Member Johnny Barton said.

Other eclipse watchers, such as Penny Smith, created homemade pinhole projectors to watch this occurrence with her grandchildren.

"I really wanted this experience for our grandchildren and me too in this special time," Smith said.

She added the first time she experienced this phenomenon was in 1979 when the contiguous United States saw the total solar eclipse.

"I was a high school senior when the last eclipse came by so this a big event," Smith said.

Teachers at Bell's Hill Elementary in Waco ISD used this occurrence as an opportunity to teach students about the solar system, a topic that 5th graders need to learn in that grade.

"This is an excellent way to number one talk about heat energy, talk about the orbit, the movement of the celestial bodies," Bell's Hill Elementary Science Specialist Debby DeGraff said."The best way to teach students is to give them experiences, to give them ways to connect, give them hands-on."

One hundred students, including Osmar Casares, enjoyed the rare sight.

"It's cool because it's orange and when you put on the glasses it's pitch-black and you can't see anything but when you look at this you can see the moon covering the sun," Cazares said.

Cazares is already looking forward to the next total solar eclipse in 2024.

"It's peculiar and it's really fun to look at but with glasses," Cazares said.

According to NASA, in any given location on earth, a total eclipse happens every 100 years but another one is expected to be visible in the U.S. in 2024. Texas will be in the path of totality of that eclipse, which is expected to last four and a half minutes.

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