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People gather in Bozeman to catch a glimpse of the 2024 solar eclipse

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 08, 2024

BOZEMAN — On Monday afternoon you may have seen folks wearing some funky glasses in Bozeman—and no, it’s not a stylistic choice. It’s to protect their eyes from the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.

“Do you see the orange circle in the sky? That's amazing huh?” says one mother from the Kids Moon Club, a social group of parents.

“I’m watching the solar eclipse,” one of the youngsters told me.

Around 12:37 p.m. on Monday, people gathered outside at Gallatin Regional Park to catch a glimpse of the 2024 eclipse.

“I am trying to see part of the solar eclipse. I've seen little pieces of it. Little slivers,” Dominique Watson tells me, a solar eclipse viewer who was also attempting to take photos.

The solar eclipse was visible along the path of totality which measured more than 100 miles wide and crossed 15 U.S. states. And although Montana is nowhere near the path of totality, people still grabbed their glasses and looked up to see about 30% to 50% of the eclipse here in Bozeman.

“Wow, it’s amazing,” says a mother from the Kids Moon Club.

But what is a solar eclipse?

“You have the sun, then the moon, then the earth with the solar eclipse. Because it's just sun and then moon, it's the moon’s shadow. The moon is a lot smaller than the Earth is, and it's pointing just a little tiny spot on Earth. And that's why we see that path of totality that goes up through Mexico, into Texas, all the way up into Maine,” says Eric Loberg, the Taylor Planetarium Program Manager at the Museum of the Rockies.

Monday afternoon, the Museum of the Rockies was streaming NASA’s Total Solar Eclipse Broadcast in Hager Auditorium. They were also selling eclipse glasses, which Eric tells me are a necessity for attempting to watch any eclipse.

“The sun will not be safe to look at with your naked eyes here in Bozeman. These are blocking off about 99.9% of the sunlight; almost all the sunlight’s blocked through these” says Eric.

The Kids Moon Club was sure to follow as their youngsters looked up to the sky.

“Don’t look at it without your glasses,” says one mother.

Unfortunately, if you missed Monday’s total solar eclipse, the next visible eclipse in Montana won't be until 2044. But don’t worry, there will be a partial eclipse coming our way in 2033.