AUSTIN - While the rest of Austin donned special solar eclipse-viewing glasses and stood outside to watch the partial eclipse, hundreds of people flocked to the University of Texas to watch through special telescopes and get a detailed viewing of the sun.
The school's astronomy department set up two special telescopes outside on the Dean Keeton Street footbridge and used a heliostat to view the sun.
The telescopes had special filters that allowed for detailed viewing of the sun 93 million miles away. The department’s heliostat reflected the eclipse from the roof through mirrors and projected it to a room full of people.
People brought creative contraptions to view the eclipse through pinhole projectors, special telescopes and solar eclipse glasses.
Some saw crescents from the partial eclipse through special cameras, holes on paper and even a kitchen colander that made a pattern of the eclipse on the ground.
Some came to the watch party to educate their children about astronomy.
"I think it's important for them just to understand the science of the world,” said Veronica Stidvent, who watched the eclipse with her daughters. “Getting to learn about the eclipse and actually see it, as opposed to just reading about it.”
For many, this was their first time ever watching a solar eclipse.
The astronomy department said it welcomed the crowds interested in science.
“I think it's awesome,” said Kaartik Gupta, an undergraduate astronomy student. “It's fantastic this many people are showing a genuine interest in science … I see a lot of younger scientists today, and that makes me really happy."
Austin will see a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.
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