“I’m thrilled to be here:” UWM hosts NASA-sanctioned eclipse viewing party

MILWAUKEE -- From captivation to mild curiosity... People in Milwaukee gathered at UW-Milwaukee's campus to check out the Great American Solar Eclipse at a NASA-sanctioned viewing party on Monday, August 21st.

The line seemed never-ending to buy protective safety glasses for viewing the eclipse. But Elaine Nap and Connie Reilly of Cedarburg made it to the front of the line.

UWM hosts eclipse viewing picnic

"I called her and I said we're changing our time. Picked her up and we got down here at 7:37 a.m.," Nap said.

A total eclipse hasn't been seen in almost a century and it won't happen again until the year 2024. For Reilly, coming was a no-brainer.

"When you've lived 80 years and you watch the different wonders in the atmosphere, you know this is really right at the top of my list of excitement," Reilly said. "I'm thrilled to be here."

UWM hosts eclipse viewing picnic

One family brought along cereal boxes for pinhole viewers just in case they did not get some glasses.

"It was from NASA so I assumed it would work and it works really well," Brooklyn Morton said.

"You look at the sun facing it backwards and the sunlight will come through this pinhole, Sadie Morton said. "It looks like a movie screen when you're looking into it."

UWM hosts eclipse viewing picnic

And, you can probably guess, the glasses quickly ran out. Some were visibly unhappy about it.

For a few minutes it appeared the glasses would be useless anyway. Clouds rolled in blocking the sun and then it rained. But, just before the estimated peak viewing of the eclipse, the clouds gave the eager crowd a glimpse of what they came for.

"We had to use our protective glasses and hold it like right over our camera lens," Jenna Johnson said. "If you hold it a little bit away, you could get a really good shot."

UWM hosts eclipse viewing picnic

Because they ran out of safety glasses, UW-Milwaukee had a viewing table set up so people could put on the glasses for 10-15 seconds, witness the eclipse and pass the glasses to the next person.