Many still manage to spot solar eclipse in Philadelphia area despite clouds

Despite clouds, many still manage to spot solar eclipse in Philly area
Many still manage to spot solar eclipse in Philadelphia area despite clouds

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The 2024 solar eclipse has come and gone from the Philadelphia region, and your view of the phenomenon depended on whether the clouds would cooperate.

At the Franklin Institute in Center City Philadelphia, the clouds thickened just as we reached maximum coverage.

However, some brief breaks in the clouds allowed those gathered there to catch a glimpse of the rare event.

In fact, so many people came out they ran out of eclipse viewing glasses early.

The member of the Action News team with the best view of the eclipse was meteorologist Adam Joseph!

He was in Plattsburgh, New York, which was in the path of totality - meaning the sun was 100% covered by the moon.

Adam described seeing a 360-degree 'sunset,' the planets appearing in the darkened sky, and the 'diamond ring' effect as the moon started moving on.

Solar Eclipse 2024: Meteorologist Adam Joseph was in the path of totality in upstate NY

Action News was there as people cheered at West Chester University when the clouds broke and the crowd could see the sun and moon - mostly - lining up together.

People fanned out onto the lawn in South Campus to gather together and look into the sky.

"It's cool to see the unification on campus," said WCU junior Justin Duffie.

Crowds gather at West Chester U. campus to watch solar eclipse

Paul Rabe says he witnessed his first solar eclipse when he was an 11-year-old in 1965.

"I just loved looking up at the sky," she said. "I love stars, I love meteors, as far back as I can remember.

While it wasn't a total eclipse, our area still saw about 90% coverage.

The partial eclipse began at 2:08 p.m., the maximum eclipse was at 3:23 p.m., and it ended at 4:35 p.m.

Pictured: A view of the 2024 solar eclipse from Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania.

Wayne Elementary School in Radnor used the rare event as an opportunity to come together.

"We thought that this would be a fantastic opportunity for the kids to come outside and experience something they would be talking about the rest of their lives," said Asst. Principal Jon Smercky.

Despite some clouds, the kids caught site of the celestial phenomenon and described the event as only elementary students could.

Wayne Elementary students get first-hand lesson about solar eclipse

"It's kind of like a cookie with a bite taken out of it. Like a little one," said 5th grader Aina.

"It's kind of like the sun is a cookie, and the moon is taking a bite out of it," agreed 5th grader Jack.

It went from cheers to boos as clouds took over the sky outside Rowan University.

"It's kind of a letdown, but we're still out here having a good time," said Cole Evans, who attends the Glassboro campus.

Planetarium Director Amy Barraclough guided students through the rare event.

"We had our telescopes pointed at the sun looking at sun spots, filaments and other things," said Barraclough. "We got to see the first half of the eclipse from 2 until about 3 o'clock this afternoon."

Solar eclipse 2024: Rowan students take in rare celestial event

The eclipse also attracted people to the Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia.

But while clouds obscured the view when maximum coverage occurred, the crowd still managed to get a view of the eclipse as the moon passed over the sun.

Eclipse draws people to Philadelphia's Belmont Plateau

"The clouds were kind of getting in the way, so it was hard to see. But we did get a peak of it, so it was worth it," said Samantha Cherisca of Lansdowne.

After a nearly seven-year wait, the eclipse created a celestial spectacle in the skies over the United States, as well as parts of Mexico and Canada.

The path of totality across the United States was approximately 115 miles wide, crossing portions of 15 states from Texas to Maine.

An estimated 32 million people live within the path of totality across the US, or locations where the moon will completely block the face of the sun from view for a few moments.

The last time there was a total solar eclipse in the Philadelphia area was in 1478, said Dr. Harry Augensen, the professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Widener University.

When will the next eclipse occur?

After the total solar eclipse ends, it's a bit of a wait for the next such celestial sightings in the United States.

Those living in Alaska will catch a glimpse of a total solar eclipse on March 30, 2033, and a partial solar eclipse will shine over most of the US during that event.

A total solar eclipse won't be visible again from the contiguous US until August 22, 2044, but totality will only occur over North Dakota and Montana, plus northern Canada.

However, the next total solar eclipse with a coast-to-coast path spanning the Lower 48 states will occur on August 12, 2045. The path of totality will arc over California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, with a partial eclipse visible across other states.

CNN contributed to this post.

You can check out more eclipse coverage here.