Local eclipse watch parties expect to be packed, as glasses sell out

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – The Clark Planetarium had more than 120,000 pairs of eclipse glasses, and are now sold out. Watch parties around Utah are expected to be a popular spot for people to have the proper equipment to see the historic event.

Rob Morris is the Operations manager for the planetarium which is planning on holding watch parties at the Gateway Mall and Wheeler Farms. Experts note even those who can’t travel will still see a major event.

“This is a big, big deal and even here in Salt Lake we’re just sitting right outside our building 91 percent of the eclipse,” said Morris. “So I mean that’s huge even if you can’t travel.”

It’s why many flocked to buy special eclipse glasses for the event. Once a series of fake glasses were found to be sold on Amazon, Morris said they pretty much became the only spots to buy them.

For days there was a line around the block waiting to buy glasses before they sold out Thursday morning. Morris doesn’t want that to prevent people from seeing it.

“We’ll have many mechanisms for people to look at this eclipse there at these viewing parties.”

Amy Oliver is a local NASA Ambassador who will be helping with education programs in Wyoming for the event. She and other scientists are hoping to help build off of the excitement of the eclipse to get people, and kids more interested in science.

“Just tapping into the fact they’re already going to be excited about it. Then reminding them this is scientific thing that happens NASA studies it.”

Scientists note eclipses aren’t rare, and happen about every 6 to 18 months. Although they normally don’t make landfall. If they do they often won’t go across a large area like the U.S., which is why this eclipse is so rare.

Salt Lake County Libraries are also expecting to have viewing parties and even some businesses are taking part. Piper Down Pub in Salt Lake City is opening it’s doors early to have customers see the eclipse from their rooftop balcony.

Bartender Mo O’Donnell said she’s so excited about the event she didn’t mind coming in early for work to help run it.

 It’s literally once in a lifetime event, and we actually have a space where you can see it,” said O’Donnell. “So it’s definitely going to be a great party, and a great opportunity to just enjoy it.”

The eclipse is expected to start in Salt Lake City around 10:15 a.m. with the 91 percent eclipse coming at 11:13 a.m.. Experts warn unless you’re in a place where the full eclipse will happen to never look at it without proper eye protection.

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