San Diego

Crowds Gather in Balboa Park to View Solar Eclipse

Center officials say this will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years

Despite the threat of a long-lasting marine layer, San Diegans got together Monday at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park to view the Great American Solar Eclipse.

"It’s been a long time coming for a lot of viewers," astronomer Lisa Will.

Hundreds of people donned glasses or peered into cameras or telescopes to watch as the moon moved in front of the sun between 9:07 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. 

David Lee, a science teacher for more than 30 years, made sure to get a seat early in the morning. 

"It's right in my ballpark," Lee said. 

At San Pasqual High School in Escondido, students also gathered on the quad to watch the eclipse.

Science teacher Becky McKinney even brought out bags of sun chips and moon pies for the students.

"It’s 10:23," she told her students. "This is the max you're going to be able to see, so if you're going to view it, come make a pin hole viewer."

McKinney's excitement was shared many of the students.

"I think it's cool," one student told NBC 7. "I’ve never seen it before, something new."

"It was really cool. The moon was orange and really bright. I thought it was interesting," another student said.

Students watched through approved special glasses, homemade telescopes, and pin holes made from cardboard.

The superintendent of the Escondido School District and the school’s principal chatted with students about how to get a good and safe view.

McKinney used new equipment during the eclipse to measure brightness and temperature in real time.

That data, she said, would later be analyzed by the students.

How much darker did it get? How much cooler?

McKinney said the district bought the new equipment to support "the new next generation science standards in California."

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