EVERETT — Groups gathered in parks and parking lots, donning dark-tinted glasses or holding up homemade viewers, to watch the moon block out most of the sun Monday morning.
“You can feel it now,” a man announced in a crowd of more than 40 people near Mariner Library in south Everett. The temperature dropped and the bright sunlight dimmed. One spectator described it as evening light in the middle of the day.
The greatest extent of the eclipse here was at 10:21 a.m., when more than nine-tenths of the sun’s diameter was covered by the moon. People sat on a yellow-painted curb near the library and peered through protective glasses as the circle of the moon spread over the sun until it blocked all but a slim, crescent sliver of gold.
“It looks like a banana in the sky,” said Mark Washburn, 12, of Everett. He attended the eclipse-viewing party with his mom, Ann Washburn.
They’d ordered a pack of about a dozen eclipse glasses online and offered extras to the library, which also had a supply on hand. Mark is fascinated by space science, Ann Washburn said.
Space isn’t 14-year-old Maria Hoff’s subject of choice, but she took the time to look up a video on how to make an eclipse viewer out of a cereal box, paper and foil. By holding the box just right, the crescent shape of the sun came through a pin-hole in the foil and could be seen against white paper at the other end of the box.
“It’s just something you don’t get to see very often,” she said.
Some people tried to snap photos of the mostly eclipsed sun through the lenses of their glasses, but the images couldn’t do the sight justice. The crowd at Mariner posed for a group photo, though, calling out “1, 2, 3 … Eclipse!”
Cars filled the lot at Harborview Park in Everett by 10 a.m. Families carried in their homemade viewers, also fashioned from cereal boxes.
Arthur Dunavan, 9, of Mukilteo, went to the grocery store earlier that morning.
His mother let him pick out any cereal he wanted. He spotted a box of Fruit Rings with pictures of astronauts and planets on the back.
The Dunavan family waited nearly two hours at the park.
When the sunlight started to dim, Arthur placed one hand over his right eye and squinted into the cardboard box with his left.
“If you aim it just right, you might be able to see it,” he said, as he moved the box around. “I can see it!”
Images by Andy Bronson / The Herald
The boy offered his cereal box to a woman sitting nearby.
Jennifer Patterson, 50, of Mukilteo, opted to work from home Monday. She started her day an hour early so that she could watch the eclipse.
Patterson travels around the Northwest for her job as a sales representative. Her colleagues living in Salem, Oregon, and Idaho Falls, Idaho, had stocked up on emergency supplies in case of power outages. Many decided to stay home from work to avoid traffic backups.
Millions flocked to parts of the country where the eclipse was expected to be total, with the moon completely blotting out the sun.
“It’s the equivalent to Armageddon,” Patterson said.
She called around to about 20 stores in search of dark-tinted glasses a couple of days before the eclipse. All were sold out. Patterson decided to visit the park anyway and watch the morning sunshine darken.
Another man ran into similar troubles, and fashioned a viewing device of his own. He used binoculars to project the eclipse onto a black folder. In the shadow of the binocular eye pieces, there were two crescent suns.
The last total solar eclipse that was visible from the contiguous U.S. was in 1979. It could be seen from Washington. The next total solar eclipse expected to be visible from the U.S. should be in 2024, according to NASA, with a path from Texas to Maine.
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