More than a thousand people gathered on the state capitol grounds today to witness the partial solar eclipse. Chris Lange of Des Moines brought his four-year-old daughter and seven-month old son.
“I figure it’s an experience that’s not going to happen again for a while,” Lange said. “It’s a good outing to share with them and check it out for myself.”
Susan Kozak of West Des Moines works at a nearby state office building, but she took an afternoon of vacation time to see the partial solar eclipse.
“I’m into science,” Kozak said, “so I thought it’d be really fun to check out.”
She remembers seeing an eclipse as a child growing up in Ottumwa.
“I think I was in kindergarten,” Kozak said, “and I remember peeking by the building.”
Kozak’s husband joined her on the lawn west of the state capitol building. The couple put on viewing glasses and took a selfie about half an hour before the eclipse happened.
Eleven-year-old Joanna Dykstra of Windsor Heights was there with her aunt.
“And today’s my birthday, so the eclipse happens on my birthday,” Dykstra said.
She’ll turn 18 for the next eclipse in the U.S. The total solar eclipse in 2024 will be best viewed in a zone from Texas to New England. Eclipse viewing in Iowa today was hampered by the weather.
For the NASA-sponsored viewing party at the state capitol, there was a brief parting of the clouds so people did get to see the partial eclipse at 1:08 p.m. The peak in Cedar Rapids was 1:12 p.m. and a large crowd gathered at the city’s public library, but clouds obscured the eclipse.
It was sunnier in Sioux City for peak viewing at 1:02 p.m. The mid-day Sioux City Rotary Club broke up early so its members could get outside to see the solar event.