Utahns flock to the Gateway for eclipse viewing party

SALT LAKE CITY – For those who didn’t want to make the trek to Idaho or Wyoming to take in the total solar eclipse, there were plenty of spots in Salt Lake City to witness the spectacular event.

Dozens of Utahns flocked to The Gateway for an eclipse viewing party on the plaza.

“I went to pick up my husband and I said 'let`s go, let`s go take a long lunch and look at the eclipse cause it`s not going to happen again in some 30 odd years.'  So, here we are,” Candy said.

Candy and her husband Waylon came out around 10 Monday morning to get a front row seat for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years.

“I`m checking it out.  It`s pretty cool.”

They weren’t alone.  Eclipse watchers young and old found a comfy spot at the free event to get a view of the sun slowly disappearing.

“It was cool. It was really exciting,” Brad said.

Brian took the day off and set up his own telescope for viewing.

“It`s pretty awesome.  Glad to see people actually interested.”

For those who couldn’t snag the specialized glasses to view the solar eclipse, Clark Planetarium provided some alternatives from pinhole projectors to telescopes.

As the eclipse reached its peak around 11:33 a.m., the crowd sensed a shift as it became visibly darker.

“It cooled down.  Not as bright and refreshing,” Brian said.

Allie came out to the viewing party with her dad.

“It was cool.  It looked like a noodle.”

The once-in-a-lifetime experience will provide a wealth of information for scientists.

“Any studying you have to do, you have to wait for events like this because when the moon gets in the way all of a sudden you can study the outer atmosphere of the sun, you can see what it`s doing to the space around it,” Rob Morris, Clark Planetarium, operations manager said.

If you want to hold on to your solar eclipse glasses, Morris says a total solar eclipse will come through Nephi, Utah in 2045.