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WNY awakens to a partial eclipse of the sun

Marian Hetherly
On the rooftop of the Buffalo Science Museum was a telescope (center) and computer streaming (bottom right) of the solar eclipse (top left) Thursday morning.

It was picture-perfect weather in Buffalo to watch a partial eclipse of the sun that was visible across the Earth's Northern Hemisphere Thursday.The rooftop of the Buffalo Science Museum was full of members and media, all there in the 5 a.m. hour to watch the Moon move between the Sun and the Earth. This casts a shadow on Earth and partially blocks the Sun's light, creating what looks like a ring of fire around the Moon.

The Lavanya family of Buffalo was first in line when the doors opened at 5:15 a.m. They signed in and each received a pair of those funny-looking paper glasses to watch the event, because it's never safe to look directly at the Sun rays, whether they are partially blocked or not.

Credit Marian Hetherly / WBFO News
The Lavanya family poses wearing their eclipse glasses.

"We are superexcited to be here," said Dokania Lavanya, who works in IT and said his family comes to the museum often. "We have seen a solar eclipse, but we wanted the kids to see it, as well. They have heard about it in school, but they don't really know how it happens."

Then everyone moved through the museum to its rooftop, where a telescope and computer streaming where also available to watch the event. People picked a position where they could get the best view of the horizon.

And then it happened.

"I think this is a wonderful event of my life," said Vaibhav Goel, also of the group. "I am seeing this after many years. When was a kid, my Dad actually took me out for (a complete solar eclipse in India). And it was complete dark over there. I was so surprised to see it was day and then it stopped. How can it happen? Everyone's not fortunate to see that."

Goel said it's one thing to read about such an event in books, but quite another to see it in person and to enjoy it with your young son.

Credit Marian Hetherly / WBFO News
The rooftop of the Buffalo Science Museum was full of members and media early Thursday morning to watch the partial solar eclipse.

Ashley Browning was there with her daughters Sophia and Isabella, her son Andrew and her husband Joseph.

"We home school and we just did a science unit, so I thought, 'real-life science.' Let's go check it out. It's a really cool scientific thing."

When they get back to their Buffalo home, Browning said she will talk about the experience with her kids, "what they took out of it."

Alex Woods, also from Buffalo, brought his young son.

"It's a good opportunity. My son, actually, has always wanted to come out on this roof," Woods said. "We're members fo the museum and we live close by, so we try to take advantage of all the things they offer."

Credit Marian Hetherly / WBFO News
The Browning Family watches the eclipse from the Buffalo Science Museum rooftop.

"Last time it was bigger," said the younger Woods. "That was 2017. I was like five." 

"Actually, it might shock you. You can see a column of light coming up from the Sun, right there, and that column of light is all we're getting. That's the direct sunlight coming from the eclipse," said Science Museum Astronomer Tim Collins. "Just about another hour and the Moon will be completely off to the side and on it's way. And we'll be waiting for 2024, when we'll have the big eclipse."

That total eclipse of the Sun will be visible in 13 U.S. states, including New York, on April 8, 2024. Until then, Collins said a "very thin sliver" of the Thursday's Moon will still be visible at sunset along Buffalo's horizon.

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