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About 3,000 people flocked to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore Monday to see the first coast to coast solar eclipse in nearly a century.

Lines stretched out the front door as hundreds waited for their chance to get on the rooftop to peer through telescopes made safe for viewing through special filters. Some donned special glasses. Still others used viewers made from pizza boxes, index cards and coffee cups.

“It’s the Super Bowl of astronomy,” said Samantha Blau, a program manager at the Science Center, adding that the eclipse would likely be the center’s busiest day of the year. “During the regular season people may not be paying attention, but everyone is paying attention today.”

It was an event America hasn’t experienced since 1918: the passage of a total solar eclipse across the continental United States

Across Maryland, thousands of people spent their afternoons outdoors in parks and on rooftops in hopes of seeing the sun mostly blocked by the moon. Other Marylanders hit the road, many to South Carolina, into the path where the moon completely blotted out the sun.

Monica and Fred Alvarado of Annapolis traveled south to sit on the green grass of the Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball park.

Far above them the moon passed in front of the sun, casting a direct shadow on the Earth for a couple of minutes.

The sky was a 360 degree sunset. Then it was twilight in the middle of the day and Venus shone brightly.

Millions of Americans gasped and groaned Monday as the first coast to coast total solar eclipse in 99 years zoomed across the country, dazzling many but disappointing some whose view was obscured by clouds.

For about 90 minutes the shadow of the moon raced over mountains, plains and forests at.

(Michael E. Ruane, Sarah Kaplan and William Wan)

Atop the Science Center, visitors looked upward, hoping the sun would peak out from between storm clouds. Whenever it did, cheers broke out.

Alex Madsen, 16, of Towson, came equipped with a viewer made out of a shoe box he tested in his backyard.

“It’s my first time ever seeing an eclipse,” he said. “It’s incredible because the sun is something like 400 times bigger than the moon, but the moon is 400 times closer to us.”

Looking through the shoe box, his mother, Lauren, exclaimed: “Oh, my God. Oh, it’s so pretty. That’s amazing. Who knew an UGGs box could be so valuable?”

Dr. Lisa Schocket, associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine,
green ugg boots Thousands in Maryland watch of astronomy
cautioned those about to gaze upward about the dangers of staring directly into the sun.

It’s no more dangerous than another day, she said, but most folks don’t typically have reason to stare.

“We see solar burns more commonly under other conditions, like psychosis or drugs,” she said.

Dan Richman, a Johns Hopkins University biophysicist from Mt. Vernon, said he thinks the eclipse generated so much excitement because it reminded us of our place in the universe.

“We don’t usually think about the fact that we are standing on the surface of the planet and we are orbiting this huge extremely bright star,” he said. “We just experience the daily cycle. You just take it for granted. But this is a reminder than we are actually part of a solar system; we are out in space. . We orbit the center of the galaxy at an unbelievable speed.”

The Earth moves around the sun at an estimated 66,000 miles per hour. The moon orbits the Earth at more than 2,000 miles per hour.

There are usually six or seven total solar eclipses per decade somewhere in the world. There are many more partial eclipses, when the moon does not fully cover the sun’s face, and annular solar eclipses, when the moon appears slightly smaller than the sun, creating an apparent “ring of fire” in the sky at the point of greatest eclipse.

On top of the Science Center, Baltimore Astronomical Society President Darryl Mason said it was his fifth time viewing at least a partial solar eclipse. He’s seen others in Antarctica, Argentina, Chili and Ecuador, he said.

“I like to see the diamond ring effect,” he said.

In Carroll County, residents greeted the eclipse Monday afternoon with exclamations of “Wow!” and “I see it!”

“It looks like a Jack o’ Lantern in the sky!” shouted Sebastian Isaza, 11, at the Carroll County Public Library’s Eldersburg branch.

“We had 500 glasses to give away. At noon, we started giving out the glasses and they were gone in 20 minutes,” Rosendale said.
green ugg boots Thousands in Maryland watch of astronomy