Hundreds of sun-protected gazes rose in front of the Menlo Park Library to stare at the sun as the moon aligned to cross it this morning.
The library hosted a watch party for the eclipse, which peaked at around 10:15 a.m.
The event offered free eclipse glasses, but ran out early in the event. About 320 pairs were distributed, and when they ran out, there was still a line stretching from the library to the gym, said Nick Szegda, assistant library services director.
Estimates varied between 500 and 800 attendees, according to library staff.
People showed up in varying degrees of preparedness and had a variety of observation tools.
A station was also set up for people to assemble their own pinhole viewers by poking a hole in aluminum foil to project the image onto a piece of white paper. Others still had made their own eclipse viewers out of cardboard boxes.
Sukolsak Sakshuwong, a Stanford doctoral student, had a camera equipped with a special lens to view the eclipse. He saw his first solar eclipse in Thailand and was excited to repeat the experience in the U.S.
Many attendees who came early enough to snag solar glasses or who brought their own eagerly shared with those without.
In addition, the event proved a helpful science lesson for the many kids in attendance. Andrew and Natalie Nady said they brought their two daughters, Megan, 5, and Gaby, 2, to the event as a hands-on science lesson and to see other children and families. Mila Mazur, 10, said as the eclipse began, "I wonder what it will look like when the moon passes in front of the sun," and Arhaan Gupta-Rastogi, 10, noted that it's rare when the sun and moon line up.
For adults in attendance, the event gave pause for reflection.
Deborah Washington said that she came because she likes to be a part of history. She walked in a civil rights march with Martin Luther King Jr., she said, and said that being there gives you a different story than reading about it.
Betty and Bob Spiegelman of Menlo Park generously shared their glasses with this reporter, who got to observe a diminishing sliver of the orange sun without any permanent eye damage.
Mr. Spiegelman said that for him, that the eclipse offered a "perspective on the universe you don't get unless you think about it a lot."