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Only a partial eclipse, but full festivities at local watch events

The Buffalo Museum of Science's front lawn looked like a summer festival as hundreds of people gathered to take in the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017.

Most peered upward, wearing protective eclipse glasses, to watch the moon pass in front of the sun. Others watched images of the eclipse through various alternative means. One family projected the sun through a telescope on to a large cardboard sheet, where they watched a crescent-shaped sun.

"It's really, I don't know, really interesting," said 7-year-old Gabriella, who sat on a blanket and had viewed the eclipse using special glasses.

Visitors of all ages were awestruck by the celestial event unfolding high above. 

"It's amazing," said Jodi Minor of North Tonawanda. "It's so awesome to look at. It's like a crescent moon right now."

Live music and the presence of several food trucks, all of which were enjoying steady business, added to the casual, family-friendly atmosphere.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Sarah from Buffalo. "It feels nice and cool. It's a good vibe. Everyone is happy. It's a little darker."

Because it was only a partial eclipse over Buffalo, the region did not experience the total darkness enjoyed by those within the Path of Totality. But the sunlight was noticeably less intense as the Moon reached the maximum 72 percent coverage of the Sun in Western New York. A cool breeze blew through the area as well.

Buffalo and surrounding areas will get the opportunity to enjoy totality in seven years. Weather permitting, Buffalo will be along the Path of Totality for the next total eclipse over the United States, on April 8, 2024.

"Oooh!" said Gabriella in reaction to that information. "That's a long time."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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