Radford University provides unique double live solar eclipse

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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Monday's solar eclipse created some once in a lifetime experiences. But for some in Radford, it was seen live twice!

Radford University hosted an eclipse watch party Monday afternoon.

The school thought they'd see 200-300 people. They wound up having 1,200-1,300, and some of them got a unique chance to see the eclipse two different ways.

A cloudy afternoon early in Radford luckily opened up to allow people to see a 92% eclipse.

But just before it hit it's peak, some were in Radford University's planetarium seeing a 100% eclipse in Nashville, TN thanks to a team from the university.

Rhett Herman is a Professor of Physics and Radford University's Planetarium Director.

He explained, "We could actually see it on the computer screen as their telescope was seeing the totality."

Then they all ran outside to see their own eclipse, allowing them to see the difference eight percent can make.

Lydia Pratt from Radford said, "When you got to the 92%, you only saw like half of a crescent. But there, all you saw was a tiny, little ring. It was really cool."

Megan Taylor from Blacksburg added, "I was shocked how bright it was still out here! We saw in Nashville it got pretty dark and then we came out here and this little sliver of sun that still showed and it was not like it was dark at all."

Herman explained, "It was totally bizarre to see that and also knowing that the same thing, just about about, would be happening 11 minutes later for us."

Jaelyn Szerokman from Radford said of the different experiences, "We only got to see it through a telescope when we watched it in Nashville, so it was nice to see it in real life with our own eyes, that was really cool."

To see the two eclipses live meant buying tickets to get into the Planetarium ahead of time. But people all said it was well worth the cost of admission.

Pratt, a 9-year old girl explained, "I really like space because I want to be a NASA engineer when I grow up. It was really awesome to see something like what I wanted to be involved in when I grow up."

People were saying Monday they're already looking forward to the next U.S. solar eclipse in 2024.

Megan Taylor said she wants to plan a vacation around being in it's path.

Herman said Radford University will be doing another party like Monday's for that, and thanks to a question from Pratt in the planetarium, they'll be doing it for lunar eclipses too!