Bucks Countians united Monday afternoon to view the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years.
Thousands of people filled the grounds outside Bucks County Community College’s Science Learning Center in Newtown Township and along the Delaware River at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library in Bristol Borough to take in the celestial show.
Both locations had a few hundred pairs of special solar eclipse glasses that were gone within a short period of time. However, those taking in the eclipse in Bristol and Newtown shared their glasses and a good number cut their pairs in half to split it with people who weren’t lucky enough to get a pair.
Families brought food, drinks and their own pinhole eclipse viewers and glasses to enjoy the occurrence with their neighbors. They battled partly cloudy skies but were able to see about 80 percent of the sun blocked by the moon at 2:44 p.m.
Bensalem resident Sharon Durham was impressed by what she saw from the riverfront. However, her two daughters – one an airline flight attendant and the other a resident not far from the path of totality – likely received a better view, she said.
“My delight is the presence of families and young people learning about science in this moment in history,” she said.
Using a borrowed pair of eclipse glasses, a pinhole viewer made from a box of muffin mix and her tablet with a NASA TV live stream, Durham watched in fascination as the partly-blocked sun peaked out from behind the clouds.
At the community college, former Council Rock School District teacher Karen Lawlor of Northampton lamented about the learning experience the solar eclipse would bring to young people.
“It’s a phenomenon these young people will never forget,” she said. “Hopefully the kids will remember it and get excited about science.”
Levittown resident Al Barnes peered up at the sun from behind solar eclipse glasses and said he wasn’t very impressed.
“Ah. The clouds keep coming in front of it,” he said, adding he really did not remember seeing solar eclipse in 1979.
Jackie Kaizer of Newtown was decked out in a tinfoil hat at the community college as an ode to M. Night Shyamalan’s Bucks County-filmed alien classic “Signs.”
“I’m wearing it so the aliens can’t read my mind,” she said with a chuckle.
Kaizer and Lawlor were sharing half a pair of solar eclipse glasses as they took in the activities in Newtown.
“My husband is deep sea fishing today and I told him he couldn’t take the glasses … so we split them,” Kaizer explained.
Officials from both viewing events declared success as the crowds swelled and enjoyed taking in the solar eclipse.
Photos from Bristol:
Photos from Newtown: