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Despite The Stormy Skies, The Eclipse Is Here

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Tim Graham/Getty Images/Haakon Mosvold Larsen/AFP/Getty Images

The long-awaited eclipse moved across the United States, cutting a 70-mile-wide path of complete darkness across the country from Oregon to South Carolina for two minutes Monday.

But in Southern Nevada, one of the sunniest places in the country, the celestial display was obscured by rain and clouds that didn't break up until after the height of the eclipse, which was after 10 a.m. In Reno, the darkness was at about the 80-percent range. 

 

This was the first time in 99 years that all of North America experienced a total solar eclipse. 

That Nevada wasn't in total darkness didn't dampen the excitement. People from around the state flocked to the city of Ely, about four hours north of Las Vegas, to get a feel for the eclipse, says Mark Bassett, executive director of the Northern Nevada Railway.

"To support the railroad, we're always trying to promote it and raise conscientiousness on it, and so Mother Nature here graciously gave us an eclipse that happens to fit into our train schedule," Bassett said, "We took advantage of this wonderful event."

The railway is even changing its name for the event to the Solar Eclipse Limited. 

From the University of Nevada-Reno, two professors, Eric Wang and Jeffrey LaCombe, took part in the Eclipse Ballooning Project. From Idaho Falls, Idaho, the two were part of a team that sent a hydrogen-filled balloon 100,000 feet up into the atmosphere. In all, 57 teams across the country are taking part in the project, in coordination with NASA.

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And the balloon will have a camera attached.

"We have a couple of 360-degree cameras that we'll be sending up, so after the eclipse, we can pan and look up at the sky or down at the shadow using that footage,"  Wang said. "The live camera has a wide-angle shot so that's the specific camera we'll be streaming from. This is really a once or twice in a lifetime event, so we obviously want to capture it on film."

For information on how to view the eclipse from the balloon, go to click here

Dan Ruby with the planetarium at the University of Nevada-Reno was on the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon, which had one of the best views in the whole country. Ruby said while scientists used the eclipse to learn more, the experience was really more about 'citizen science.'

"There are a couple of projects. The Eclipse Ballooning Project was one of them. There's another project that had people collecting temperatures all along the path of totality. So we can get a lot of good data," Ruby said, "In your pocket, you have a data collection instrument more powerful than people had decades ago." 

Ruby said it was as much a cultural phenomenon than anything else. 

More on the eclipse from Nevada Public Radio: Solar Eclipse 2017

Live Coverage from NPR: Total Solar Eclipse

Guests

Mark Bassett, executive director, Northern Nevada Railway; Dan Ruby, planetarium, UNR

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