All eyes on the skies as eclipse passes through Western New York

Aug 22, 2017

BATAIVA — Sprawled out on the lawn of the Richmond Memorial Library, friends and family pressed cardboard glasses against their faces as they watched moon slowly block the sun on Monday afternoon.

Calling over strangers who didn’t have any way to view to eclipse — and offering to share their own glasses — residents ate their lunches on lawn chairs and blankets. The library parking lot was full before 1 p.m., and cars started to park on the side streets as the line to get the glasses wrapped around the library and trailed down the sidewalk on Ross Street.

Library Director Bob Conrad said the library was handing out 300 eclipse viewing glasses. Before the eclipse started, he already counted 240 people in line and was expecting many people at the library on Monday.

Noelia Ventura, of Batavia, was one of those who were standing in line at the library around 1 p.m., waiting patiently to get her eclipse glasses.

“I heard about it in social media and the newspaper, and I came here to the library, and they also had a flyer,” she said, adding she was excited about the eclipse and had never seen one before.

Sue Berardini, of Batavia, also heard about it on the news. After calling the library to see if they had glasses, she decided to come down.

“It’s a once in a lifetime event for me,” she said, adding she would like to see the 2024 eclipse as well. “My nephew from Virginia is visiting. I’m glad its a beautiful day.”

Mary Brairton and Tammy Paieszysnki, both of Batavia, came down to watch the eclipse together before Brairton left for Alasaka.

“I’m glad (we came down) — it was worth it,” Paieszysnki said, looking up at the eclipse wearing her glasses.

“It’s a very rare event,” Brairton agreed.

They decided to go to the library after hearing it was passing out free glasses, and Paieszynski added with a laugh her mother yelled at them to go because they would go blind looking at the sun.

Some decided to celebrate the eclipse in style; Linda Conroy, of Batavia, made eclipse T-shirts for herself, and Wolfie and Lily Miller, both of Le Roy.

“I was looking and I saw they were selling (eclipse) shirts online, and I thought, ‘I can make that,’” Conroy said.

The eclipse reached its maximum locally about 2:30 p.m. The skies grew slightly darker — almost like the beginning of twilight — and the moon blocked about 75 percent of the sun.

The next solar eclipse in Batavia will be on April 8, 2024. A total solar eclipse will pass over the city and the entire GLOW Region that afternoon.

It will be the first total eclipse visible in Batavia since Jan. 24, 1925, and the last for 120 years.

According to a projection created by TimeAndDate.com, Batavia will have a full total eclipse for 223 seconds between 3:19 p.m. to 3:22 p.m. that Monday and a partial eclipse for nearly two and a half hours.

By Mallory Diefenbach, The Daily News