The Excitement of an Eclipse ...
How the Party-goers Were Able to View the Eclipse
(Gallery Has Six Pictures)
One popular approach to eclipse viewing was the use of safety glasses, and hundreds of them were handed out to the party-goers. A line to get them began about 11:00am, and it was going out the gate by the time the glasses were being distributed at 1:00pm. As you can see in this picture, people enjoyed using the glasses, and this approach provided an excellent direct view of the eclipsed sun. Party goers were warned not to look at the sun without the glasses, since they could burn the retinas of their eyes.
You didn't need to get glasses to safely view the eclipse. As shown here, you could make a really cheap viewer with a cereal box and aluminum foil, and still get truly excellent results of an eclipse image projected at the bottom of the box. An even cheaper approach to viewing the eclipse was discussed among the party-goers: just cross the fingers of one hand over the fingers of the other hand to form small holes, and you can make a projection of the eclipse on a piece of paper.
The Gaithersburg Community Museum brought their big telescopes to the party, and these telescopes were popular, as can be seen in the picture on the left. Some of the party-goers even used them with their cameras to take pictures. Naturally, there was a long line to get a peak in the telescopes, especially the big ones, which showed the biggest views of the eclipse.
Each telescope had a filter in the front, like in the picture above on the right, to protect the eyes of the users. Without the filter, the eyes of the users would be burned terribly. Anyone who has burned paper with a magnifying glass can appreciate that. The filters reflected almost all the light, as can be seen in the picture, and only a little reached the eyes of each user.
If you had questions about using the telescopes to view the eclipse, Dick Rhorer (left), an engineer and telescope expert, was there to answer them. Again, questions are the beginning of knowledge, and both adults and kids had lots of questions, and lots of awe at this huge spectacle.
No matter what your approach to viewing the eclipse, you were out of luck during those short periods when the sun went behind a cloud, which happened periodically. Here we see this situation. The vapor trail is from a jet that I suppose was able to fly above the clouds and not suffer that problem. The day, however, was actually mostly superb for sun watching.