Apr 9, 2024 - Eclipse

How Detroit viewed the eclipse from the riverfront

People look up at the sun on the riverfront during the eclipse.

Eclipse viewers on Detroit's riverwalk. Photos: Annalise Frank/Axios

Hundreds of people posted up around Cullen Plaza on the riverwalk Tuesday to watch the sun shrink to a tiny sliver at 3:14pm.

State of play: The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy hosted a viewing party there, handing out 600 pairs of free eclipse glasses and 1,000 eclipse-themed snacks — Sun Chips and Moon Pies.

People grab snacks from a table amid a long, long line.
Viewing party attendees choose Sun Chips or Moon Pies as their eclipse-themed snacks.

Between the lines: The riverfront landscape offered wide, picturesque views of the darkening sky on a clear day.

  • Onlookers in chairs, on blankets and sitting on curbs gabbed with neighbors they'd never met about the eerie cold and darkness while craning their necks upward.
  • People clapped and whooped just after the partial eclipse passed max coverage.
A pair of people pose with their eclipse glasses.
Robert Cooper of Farmington Hills and Rita Spiller of Southfield pose after viewing the eclipse.

What they're saying: "I thought it was awesome, the change in the atmosphere and everything was amazing," Rita Spiller of Southfield told Axios while sitting by a garden bed after watching the eclipse.

  • She recalled making a homemade pinhole camera to view one as a young girl.
  • Robert Cooper of Farmington Hills, who joined Spiller for the viewing, added that he had fun looking up solar eclipse myths online while at the riverfront and asking trivia questions with the people around him.

What's next: If you missed it, you only need to wait until 2044 or 2045 for your next shot! You've got time to prepare.

A telescope is used to look up at the eclipse.
Mike Broughton, community outreach interpreter for Huron-Clinton Metroparks, models looking into a telescope with a solar filter for viewing the eclipse. A line of people wait to use the telescope.
Onlookers gaze up at the eclipse with the RenCen in the background.
The sky darkened slightly, one minute before max coverage in Detroit at 3:14pm.
A long line leading to the riverfront.
Attendees waited in a long line to get their free eclipse-viewing glasses and snacks.
The sky is dark behind downtown.
The darkened sky around 3pm during the eclipse. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios
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