Locals Experience Eclipse with Astronomers

Destin, Fla. - The big day everyone has been waiting for finally arrives. The rare Solar Eclipse draws large crowds to the Panhandle.  

Northwest Florida was booming with excitement as the clock ticked down the seconds to the solar eclipse. The beach was one of the best locations to catch the phenomenon and viewing events popped up all across the coast. 

"I watched this with these glasses and I saw the moon blocking the sun," explained Drew Zannis, 6-years-old. 

"What's special about today is, the Solar Eclipse is here. It happens to be partial but, it doesn't happen very often and as you can tell, there is a lot of interest in this kind of astronomical event," shared Tom Haugh, Northwest Florida Astronomy Association.

The day kicked off with a rooftop celebration, where locals and visitors were invited to view the eclipse from a 30A local hot spot, Whiskey Bravo.

"We're expecting a large crowd this afternoon, whether you're on the roof or down stairs in our main dinning area, it's just the perfect place to celebrate the eclipse," said Brittany O'hara, Whiskey Bravo manager. 

"I was hoping for unicorns and stardust but, I think it's just going to be, maybe kind of dark for a minute or darkish for a minute. I'm not sure. I've never seen one like this," explained Corinne Lindsey, Cowgirl Kitchen employee.

For those who didn't have viewing glasses, the Henderson State Park opened their gates for a special viewing eclipse event. 

"We brought lots of telescopes with two different kinds of view. One a White Light Filter where you see the entire spectrum of the sun. And, two other types of telescopes are Hydrogen Alpha telescopes, which show us the specific frequency of light," said Haugh.

"It's once in a life time," shared Alexander Sheperd, 9-years-old. 

Kids of all ages were lined up to get a glimpse of the sun, moon and earth align. 

"I saw the moon and it was covering the eclipse partially. I can't wait until we get to see the full," said Cooper Hall, 10-years-old. 

"I was like wow! This is probably one of the most amazing things I have ever seen," described Wesley Carson Hall, 9-years-old.

Northwest Florida received an 85 percent eclipse, with the darkest part taking place around 1:35 P.M. and the Henderson was packed with people viewing it. 

"At first, I thought the sun would be a ball but, instead it looks like a moon," explained Gavin Webb, 6-years-old. 

Henderson State Park estimated they had several hundred visitors and locals enter the park for the solar eclipse event. For some people this truly was a once in a life time opportunity because the next predicted annular eclipse will take place in 2023 and total eclipse will be in 2024. 

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