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How Peoria residents watched the 2024 solar eclipse

Attendees of the April 8th solar eclipse watch party hosted by the Peoria Riverfront Museum observe the path of the moon as it eclipsed the sun
Isabela Nieto
People attending Monday's solar eclipse watch party hosted by the Peoria Riverfront Museum observe the path of the moon as it eclipsed the sun.

Peoria wasn't in the path of totality of the solar eclipse, but that didn't stop many from taking time out to view the rare astronomical event on Monday.

The Peoria Riverfront Museum hosted hundreds of guests for a free viewing party. Guests brought their own lawn chairs and picnic blankets and set up outside the museum to view the path of the moon as it eclipsed the sun. The eclipse began locally at 12:47 p.m. with the sun maximally eclipsed at 2:03 p.m. at about 94%.

Sunlight visibly dimmed as the sun was eclipsed, and temperatures noticeably dipped. Peoria's streetlights popped on in the mid-afternoon.

Friends Angel Montejano and Elizabeth Douglas attended the viewing party together. Douglas said it was her first time seeing an eclipse with her own eyes.

“I think it's something that you can tell your kids, like I got to experience an eclipse,” Douglas said, “and I feel like something to do to prepare for it is to read about it you know, like, it gets you excited. Make plans with friends.”

Montejano said she watched the 2017 eclipse with a class while she was attending college, and she didn’t want to miss the chance to see another one.

“We don't even get to experience half the stuff that is out there. And so it's like, I don't know, it's pretty crazy that we can track all of this too, and how we know, like, when the next one is going to be. I just think it's really interesting what we do and don't know about our world,” Montejano said.

Some guests had the opportunity to watch the 2017 eclipse at the museum as well. Friends Sylvia Wrenthorpe and Walter Johnson returned to the museum to view this year’s event.

“It’s like a tradition. We were here last time in 2017, and there was a lot going on with me and my family,” Wrenthorpe said. “So my daughter, myself and friend, Walter Johnson, we all came up here at the museum and decided to take a look.”

Johnson said the next generation also should experience an eclipse.

“It always takes a miracle to see something like this, and hopefully the next generation gets to see it as well,” he said.

The rare total solar eclipse visible in a narrow path across the continental United States from Texas to Maine was experienced in Peoria as a 95% partial eclipse as the Moon orbits between the Earth and the Sun.

Peoria Riverfront Museum educators provided information as well as DIY pinhole viewers to ensure a safe eclipse-viewing experience.

Isabela Nieto is a student reporting intern at WCBU. Isabela is also a student at Bradley University in Peoria.