Eclipse chasers settle into RMSC lawn to catch a glimpse of the sun

Aug 21, 2017

The lawn surrounding the Rochester Museum and Science Center building looked more like a small festival than a museum. Eclipse watchers had blankets, chairs, snacks, and plenty of protective eyewear, waiting for the big moment to arrive.

The museum was completely out of glasses early in the day, but the generosity of others let Amanda Kenny and her children watch the eclipse safely.

"They gave it to us because we were in line just before they ran out, so somebody shared it with us and said they were going to share amongst their family, so we’re really grateful."

With eclipse glasses hard to come by, spectators had to get creative.

Some went the DIY route cutting up old cereal boxes, and others went less traditional. Timothy Powers was wearing a full welding mask in the hot summer sun.

“If it has a certain shade setting it’s safe to look at the sun, which is convenient because we were too late to get the glasses.”

Even though the eclipse didn’t peak until 2:30pm Monday afternoon in Rochester, some chasers like Janet Steehler claimed their spots early, she had hers by 11am.

"You know I didn’t want to watch at home on TV, I didn’t want to watch it [in the museum], I wanted to be here with all the people. It’s exciting!"

For many it was their first time experiencing an eclipse. Seven-year-old Megan Kinney was wearing a NASA shirt and holding a cereal box viewer, she said she’s really into science.

"I just fell in love with it at school because we did astronomy; I even have a space lunch box."

While we didn’t see total darkness in Rochester this time around, Juliana Sperry reminds us that there’s always the next eclipse.

"I thought it would be pitch black, but seven years when we’re in high school it will be pitch black because we’ll get 100%.”

The next eclipse, when the path of totality will cross over Rochester, will be in 2024.