Arlington Heights marvels at Solar Eclipse Viewing Party

People in the park wearing eclipse glasses looking at the sky.

Wonder and awe filled North School Park today as close to 700 people joined in the library's Solar Eclipse Viewing Party and witnessed a rare celestial event together- the moon passing between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun's light. 

"It's such as unusual, once-in-a-lifetime occurance for many people," said Arlington Heights resident Jane Born, a former teacher who came to North School Park with her friend, and former colleague, Marcia Becker. "It's so nice to be able to see it locally too and to share in the experience with so many people. It's really amazing and fun!"  

The event, presented in partnership with the Arlington Heights Park District, quickly took on a party-like atmosphere. Blankets and chairs filled the lawn and many brought picnics and refreshments to enjoy as they gazed skyward wearing eclipse glasses. The library distributed 5,150 eclipse glasses in the leadup to the eclipse thanks in part to funding from a Space Science Institute initiative and from a supply donated by Illinois State Representative Mary Beth Canty.   

Arlington Heights was set to experience 92.6% totality and as if right on cue, the phenoman began at 12:51 p.m. Over the next 60-70 minutes, the eclipse dramatically unfolded as the moon slowly covered the sun reaching its maximum point of coverage at 2:07 p.m. 

"[This event] really gave me the inspiration to come and naturally look at the eclipse. I don’t think I would’ve done it if I hadn’t heard about it through the library and that they provided the glasses makes it so much easier," said attendee Diane O'Sullivan. "And we have such a beautiful day. We were all concerned about cloudy, rainy days so this was just so perfect."