Thousands gather for pre-eclipse event

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) - Today, the West Virginia University Planetarium and Observatory hosted a 'pre-eclipse' event for the community.

A demonstration at the event.

Over 1,500 people attended the event at WVU's astronomy building. There were planetarium shows and mini-lectures hosted by astronomers.

Guests got to participate in hands-on activities like drawing their own eclipse pictures and making pin-hole viewing boxes. People were also able to look at the sun through the observatory's giant telescope or through smaller sun-viewers.

After all the fun, each person could take home a pair of safety glasses to use when they watch the eclipse on Monday. One parent said that her family attended the event so that they could learn more about this rare experience.

"It's an experience that doesn't happen very often in our lifetimes and we just thought it was important to come learn about it," said one parent at the event, Laura Banduren.

Dr. Kathryn Williamson told us that she organized the event as a fun, interactive way to teach the community about the eclipse.

"We want to involve people in this opportunity to view this celestial event that everyone can appreciate no matter how old they are or what their background is, we can appreciate this together and create lifelong memories," said Dr. Williamson.