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Solar eclipse draws together family, friends, and crowds across Cape Cod

Jude Pittman and Lillie Foose enjoy the solar eclipse in Falmouth.
Eve Zuckoff / CAI
Jude Pittman and Lillie Foose enjoy the solar eclipse in Falmouth.

Cape, Coast, and Islanders were able to see the solar eclipse peak at about 3:30 p.m. this afternoon. Many experienced the event together — in yards, parks, and nature reserves.

Organized viewing parties were held at eight state parks across Massachusetts; one was at Nickerson State Park, and another was at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reservein Falmouth.

There, roughly 300 people gathered — more were turned away after the parking lot ran out of room.

Many brought children to witness the moon pass in front of about 90% of the sun.

"Something that blocks out the sun really puts you in your place in the universe a little bit," said Nate Formel, who watched the eclipse on a picnic blanket with his partner Kelly Montenero, and their son Finn Formel. "It's like, 'Oh, there are planets revolving around.' It's a hard concept for a three year old to grasp, but this makes it easier," he said before turning to the younger Formel.

"Why is the sun disappearing, Finny? What's going in front of it?" 

"A moon!" Finn replied.

Eve Zuckoff / CAI
Naomi Kooker and her mother Demaris.

"Good Job, Finny, the moon!" Montenero said.

Naomi Kooker watched the eclipse sitting next to her 88-year-old mom.

"She's an 'in-the-moment' kind of person. And, you know, it did cross my mind that this is probably one of the last eclipses we'll be sitting through together."

Once the event was over, some said they were a little disappointed by the lack of drama that could perhaps be found in the path of total eclipse, which stretched from Texas to Maine. But plenty of others said they were amazed.

Ultimately, Diane Anderson, who watched the eclipse from a big picnic table with a friend, said the best part was being with others.

"It's bringing the whole community together. It's bringing us to this spot, which we've never been to before. And then looking at all these people here is wonderful to see," she said. "We're all in the same place with the same thoughts in mind."

Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.