The first transcontinental total solar eclipse in 99 years occurred Monday. But people in the Leavenworth area didn’t see much of it. Clouds obscured much of the rare celestial event.

The eclipse was briefly visible to people attending a watch party at the Lansing Community Library.

There was a break in the clouds about 11:45 a.m. and people got their first look as the solar eclipse began.

People wore eclipse glasses as they watched the moon slowly move in between the earth and the sun.

Several people pointed to the eclipse and verbally expressed their amazement.

But the view was short-lived as clouds soon obstructed a clear view of the eclipse.

Scores of solar eclipse watch parties were held in the Leavenworth area, including one at the University of Saint Mary.

The watch party, held during a persistent rain shower, was a part of the freshmen orientation activities at the university.

“What better way to have freshmen orientation than with an eclipse party and extend the watch party to the entire community?” said Lisa Potoka, dean of students at USM.

Although they were unable to see the solar eclipse because of the clouds, those attending the USM watch party experienced near darkness during the totality of the eclipse just after 1 p.m.

“It looks like doomsday,” said USM student Krystal Rivera as the sky got increasingly dark for about 90 seconds.

As a persistent rain fell, many USM students played on a water slide down a hill near the baseball field.

Sister Diane Steele, president of the university, even took a slide down the hill, much to the delight of the students, who applauded her efforts.

USM student Mark Stimach said despite the clouds that obscured the eclipse, the event was memorable.

“This is awesome,” Stimach said as the sky darkened during totality. “This is really cool, something you never get to see.”

The eclipse watch party committee organized several activities for the event, including games for children, lunch for visitors and a band.

“(The rain) does not affect the watch party one bit,” Potoka said. “Eclipse or not, it’s still a great time.”

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