By Joe Southern
Hundreds of curious people and scores of media crowded the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land Monday afternoon for a rare chance to view a solar eclipse.
Although the total solar eclipse was only visible in a narrow band across the nation, a partial eclipse was visible in the Houston area. Representatives from the George Observatory and other amateur astronomers set up filtered telescopes and other viewing devices for the public to see.
The line to get into the museum nearly circled the crowded building for a chance to see an event that hasn’t happened in the United States since the 1970s and won’t happen again until 2024.
“We got here at 8:45 in the morning to get the solar glasses,” said Angela Baxter of Sugar Land, who came with her husband Orie and son Orie Kyle.
Roy Prince and his daughter Emma were able to score a pair of glasses from someone in line who had an extra pair to sell for $10.
“I took off work today without knowing it was the eclipse,” Roy Prince said, adding that he scheduled the day off a couple months ago so he could spend the last day of summer vacation with Emma before she went back to school.
Mary Lockwood, who is a museum volunteer and is the building manager for the museum’s George Observatory, had a special viewer set up so people could look at the image safely.
“I’m here to help people enjoy the eclipse,” she said. “There won’t be another one until 2024.”
She said she saw her first one when she was 12 years old.
“I had to look at it through shadows on the ground,” she said.
Next to Lockwood, John Cavouti II of the Fort Bend Astronomy Club had his six-inch Dobsonian telescope set up with a solar filter on it so people could view the sun safely as the moon passed in front of it.
“This is one of these once-in-a-lifetime things,” he said.