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Photos: Brooklyn celebrates ‘Great American Eclipse’ with science, pinhole cameras and parties

August 21, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gabriel Sanchez was one of hundreds who gathered at Pioneer Works in Red Hook on Monday for a free event celebrating the solar eclipse. Photos by Mary Frost
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Hundreds of Brooklynites gathered at Pioneer Works, a cultural center in Red Hook on Monday to experience what was dubbed the Great American Eclipse, learn a little about astronomy — and party.

At the free event, members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York set up telescopes with special filters and explained the science behind the eclipse, while volunteers helped people make pinhole cameras using tubes, cereal boxes and pieces of paper.

 “You just put a little hole in this piece of paper, look down on a surface or another piece of paper, and that’s a little image of the sun,” one woman told dozens of people crowded around a picnic table stacked with paper and cardboard tubes.

“They really like it — they’re surprised it’s actually occurring,” said Peter Lipschutz, a member of the Amateur Astronomers Association, manning one of a half dozen telescopes.

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New York City was not in the path of “totality,” and so experienced a partial eclipse, with roughly 71 percent of the sun covered. At the peak of the eclipse, the sun appeared as a crescent.

“I saw the sun and then the moon covering the sun, halfway,” said young Gabriel Sanchez, who said he was pretty excited about his first eclipse.

“Oh, it was wild,” said artist and videographer Susan Yung, who learned that a blip on the surface of the sun was not dust on her camera lens but a sun spot.

Not everyone could fit into Pioneer Works. A crowd gathered across the street for their own impromptu eclipse party.

A man dressed all in white, with white-rimmed sunglasses, one white glove and a full set of white angel wings, said he traveled to Red Hook from Bedford Hills, New York.

“I love coming to the city. I’m a city person, and I’m an angel,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle. “I believe I can fly.”

The wait was worth it!

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