Partial solar eclipse draws crowd to UNL parking garage

For only being 4 and a half, Ryder Fass knows all about the solar system and black holes.

His mom, Angie, said he loves learning and a lot of what he knows comes from library books.

Using special glasses provided by UNL's physics and astronomy department, Angie Fass and her son, Ryder, look at the solar eclipse from the roof of UNL’s Stadium Drive parking garage on Oct. 23, 2014.

Using special glasses provided by UNL’s physics and astronomy department, Angie Fass and her son, Ryder, look at the solar eclipse from the roof of UNL’s Stadium Drive parking garage on Oct. 23, 2014.

“Black holes!” he said when asked about his favorite astronomical subject.

Ryder and Angie were two of the many people who attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s public solar eclipse viewing event on Oct. 23 on the roof of the Stadium Drive parking garage.

Lines formed behind telescopes provided by UNL’s physics and astronomy department to see the partial solar eclipse. Faculty manned the telescopes so they could make adjustments for optimal viewing and to answer questions.

A large crowd gathered on the roof of UNL’s Stadium Drive to view a partial solar eclipse on Oct. 23, 2014.

A large crowd gathered on the roof of UNL’s Stadium Drive to view a partial solar eclipse on Oct. 23, 2014.

When not looking through a telescope, many people used safety glasses, also provided by the department, to view the eclipse.

Steve Ducharme, a professor in UNL’s department of physics and astronomy, said that solar eclipses occur twice a year and that the phenomena can only be seen from certain places in the world.

To view a full or partial eclipse depends on where the moon’s shadow, or umbra, strikes the Earth. Areas inside the shadow will see the eclipse. Partial eclipses are seen from the outer edge of the umbra called the penumbra.

Bonnie Cain said she and her husband, Rick traveled from Tulsa to visit their daughter and grandchildren, who live in Lincoln.

Bonnie Cain (left) with her daughter Amy Lyon and granddaughter, Ruby look at the partial solar eclipse through a Sunspotter on Oct. 23, 2014.

Bonnie Cain (left) with her daughter Amy Lyon and granddaughter, Ruby look at the partial solar eclipse through a Sunspotter on Oct. 23, 2014.

“We saw it in the newspaper and thought we should come out and see it,” Cain said.

The partial eclipse could be seen in Lincoln from 4:30 p.m. until sunset.

UNL professor Michael Sibbernsen said Nebraska will see a total solar eclipse in 2017.

“A lot of people have been waiting decades (to see one),” Sibbernsen said. “This is just a sneak peek.”

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