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Viewing party at Museum of Flight: first 1,000 people get eclipse glasses

SEATTLE -- Preparations are underway around Western Washington for The Great American Eclipse of 2017 happening Monday morning.

Signs of sold out solar glasses may be everywhere, but Ted Huetter with the Museum of Flight says they’ll give out 1,000 pairs on a first-come first serve basis for people coming to watch the eclipse at the Museum of Flight.

The museum’s watch party on the lawn is free and open to everyone. Eclipse events will also take place inside the museum but people who wish to see those events will need to pay museum admission.

“We have plenty of room for everybody we think. We’ll be distributing free eclipse glasses to the first 1,000 people that are here, but once they’re gone, they’re gone,” said Huetter.

He says the eclipse is a special event to witness and he remembers the last one he saw.

“It’s a wonderful thing. It’s eerie. It’s sunny then all of a sudden it’s twilight. It gets very quiet, the birds think it’s time to sleep, so everything calms down in a very interesting way in the middle of the day and then it picks up again,” said Huetter.

At the museum, curators and experts from NASA will be available to answer questions about the eclipse and if people want to come watch but don’t have glasses, Huetter says don’t worry.

There are lots of other ways to look at the eclipse. We’ll have pin hole cameras, projections on the ground,” said Huetter.

A specially designed airplane will also be taking off from the Museum on Monday to gather real-time footage of the eclipse and streaming it live.

The eclipse excites even NASA astrophysicist Thomas Zurbuchen.

“I’ll be in this plane and observe it for the first time, I couldn’t be more excited,” said Zurbuchen.

He says the eclipse will be seen by more people and in more ways than ever before.

“We have three aircraft, 11 space craft, 50 balloons all looking at this eclipse in different ways,” said Zurbuchen.

He will be flying in the airplane equipped with special windows for eclipse viewing.

“They’re absolutely flat,” said Zurbuchen.

Scientists will take high-resolution photos, videos to analyze the atmosphere of the sun.

“In this eclipse, we’ll learn a lot about space weather, the atmosphere of the sun and how it affects us here,” said Zurbuchen.

For many, Monday’s eclipse will be their first, a special event Huetter says will bring everyone together.

“It is something that cuts across all ages, and interests, brings you in touch with nature and our place in the cosmos,” said Huetter.