Solar Eclipse 2017 wows crowds across the US, in Tampa Bay

Posted at 8:31 AM, Aug 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 10:27:53-04

A total solar eclipse cast its shadow over the United States on Monday. The path of totality made its way from Oregon to South Carolina and Tampa Bay saw a portion of the excitement. 

The total solar eclipse, which is the first to traverse the continental United States in decades, first made contact over Lincoln City, Oregon. Crowds of people donning special-purpose solar filters cheered and roared as the moon completely blocked the sun and cast a 70-mile wide shadow stretching from Oregon to South Carolina.

For brief moments, the sky over various U.S. cities plunged into darkness and temperatures dropped as much as 12 degrees. The sun's outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by glare, appeared as a ring of ethereal white wisps around the moon while it blocked the solar surface.

In areas with clear skies, bright stars and planets appeared in the darkened daytime sky. And as the sun reemerged from behind the moon, it created an astonishing "diamond ring" effect.

Click here for the latest Eclipse headlines, what you need to know, local eclipse news

Local astronomers head to NC for best views of Total Solar Eclipse

GALLERY: Solar Eclipse 2017: Photos from around Tampa Bay, our crew in NC 

Solar Eclipse deals and specials on August 21, 2017

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The Tampa Bay area saw 81% of the sun covered by the moon on Monday. The eclipse started at approximately 1:17 p.m. and ended at 4:14 p.m. with a maximum coverage at 2:50 p.m. There was a mix of sun and clouds with temps in the low to mid 90s. Get today's forecast here

Eclipse Times by Location in Tampa Bay: When to start watching, max coverage, end times

Viewing outside of Tampa Bay? Click here for an interactive map with location times

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People pack into MOSI for solar eclipse:

Tampa's Museum of Science & Industry estimates up to 3,000 people went to watch the rare solar eclipse.

The Eclipse Event drew in thousands as there were events across the parking lot of MOSI.

MOSI posted to social media that they were blown away by the support of the Tampa Bay community.

Outside, they had a dedicated area where 80 people could look through eclipse glasses, before returning them as well as lines to look through telescopes.




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Hundreds gather at St. Pete College for eclipse:

Hundreds of people packed the quad area of St Petersburg College’s Gibbs Campus to watch the solar eclipse together. They packed every inch of grass in the college's open area between buildings to use the school's professional telescopes, give special eclipse glasses a whirl and watch a live projection of the eclipse on a TV screen.

It was a shared experience unlike any other. Rena Romano circled this day on her calendar two years ago!

“I mean look at all the people. Kids of all ages here we are. We are having fun. I had to be a part of it! I've looked forward to this for 730 days!”

As people watched the eclipse, many commented how nice it was to be together for this experience.

“It really puts things in perspective. You have your worries, but there is a bigger picture here and something like this eclipse reminds you of it," explained John Stewart.

Through the cloudy moments where the sun wasn't visible and the moments with a picture perfect view, that feeling was shared by 92 year olds and 5 year olds alike.

“One of these kids could be the first one to walk on Mars, who knows? This is getting them interested in science and our solar system,” added SPC astronomy professor Craig Joseph.

For hundreds, it was an afternoon to forget about the politically charged world we live in, and share something simply out of this world….together.




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Eclipse creates learning experience:

Hundreds of Pasco County students had the chance to watch the solar eclipse together.

Forward thinking staff members at Bayonet Point Middle School in New Port Richey made sure the school ordered the special glasses ahead of time. They were able to get enough for everyone.

It’s not often Mark Babiarz’s can start a lesson in the classroom and then let his students experience it for real. Bayonet Point Middle School is a magnet school focusing on science and technology. And together they gathered on the football field and looked up in amazement.

“It’s cool,” said one student.

As the moon covered up the sun Babiraz continued teaching and quizzing his class.

“We can say the moon is the same size as the sun is that for real or no?”

Some students got an even closer look at the eclipse, thanks to a science teacher’s telescope.

Bayonet Point is only in it’s second year with the STEM program, and it seems to have invigorated the kids and the teachers.

“The more technology we get here at the STEM school, it just makes the kids, want to learn. They come in and question, they are inquisitive. They problem solve, they want to know, why is this happening,” said Babiraz.

Not only did all the students and teachers get classes, but the school ordered enough for all staff members, even the bus drivers.