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Dozens gather at Omaha Riverfront in hopes of seeing annular solar eclipse

October 14, 2023

Article originally published by KETV and Maddie Augustine.
View original story here(opens in a new tab).

Searching for a glimpse of the annular solar eclipse, dozens gathered at Omaha’s Riverfront.

“We try to make it to all three eclipses or any partial eclipses that we can,” Katie Saunders, watch-party attendee, said.

Joining together, Kiewit Luminarium, the Riverfront and the Omaha Astronomical Society hosted an eclipse watch party for the community.

“We’ve got our friends out here with the Omaha Astronomical Society who have a lot of really cool tech stuff and telescopes and solar telescopes,” Amanda Kephart, Kiewit Luminarium program manager, said. “And then we’re also out here with a little bit of a of a low tech way to go about viewing the eclipse.”

But, Mother Nature had other plans. With the exception of just a couple of seconds, the eclipse was hidden behind the clouds.

“We’re hoping to see the eclipse,” Saunders said. “We were pretty excited about it, so it’s a bit of a bummer that it’s so cloudy.”

Yet, the crowd didn’t seem to mind.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity, you know, for kids to do some hands-on learning,” Maricela Machuca, watch-party attendee, said.

Kiewit Luminarium and Omaha Astronomical Society live-streamed a view of the eclipse from New Mexico and Utah, answered questions and gave everyone the chance to look through telescopes.

“It’s really about engaging our community and letting them know that we want to talk about science,” Kephart said. “We want to talk about STEAM with them.”

“The mission of our organization is to spread astronomical awareness and to bring the wonders of our, you know, solar system and beyond to the public,” Mike Modrcin, Omaha Astronomical Society outreach coordinator, said.

And with several aspiring scientists and astronauts in attendance.

“I’m planning to be a scientist when I grow up,” Ximena Machuca, aspiring scientist, said.

Parents are grateful for the unique opportunity.

“I think the more that they get exposed to, these things, more their world will open up and they can do whatever they want, you know, later on in life,” John Hayashi, parent, said.