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Viewers count down to eclipse's peak at Griffith Observatory

May 20, 2012 |  7:07 pm

The partial solar eclipse reached its peak in Los Angeles at 6:38 p.m., and visitors at the Griffith Observatory counted the seconds at the top of their lungs before letting out a wail of excitement.

"The light is dimmer. The air is cooler," a woman said over a loudspeaker. "Nature gets a little strange during an eclipse."

Ryan Berg, 20, of Los Angeles, watched the crescent shaped image of the sun through a massive telescope. "That is so cool! Look at that," he said. "The light is so thin and wavy."

Susan Szotyori, spokeswoman for the observatory, said more than 3,000 watched the eclipse from the institutes's mountaintop perch.

Some visitors decided to bypass the long lines for telescopes by watching the partial solar eclipse with their own homemade devices.

"We tried to buy special glasses and called five or 10 places, but everything was sold out," said Julie Lim of Arcadia, who used a pin-hole viewer made out of the cardboard for gift wrap. She said it was the perfect way to help her 8-year-old daughter Iris monitor the eclipse's progress.

"We wanted to show our daughter that you need to think about what you can accomplish with your own hands without relying on anyone else," Lim said.

Another clutch of people watched the eclipse by reflecting the sun's profile on the wall with a small mirror. "We decided to do this after seeing someone else do it. The lines for the telescopes are too long," said Ryan Koh, a mohawked high school student celebrating his 18th birthday watching the partial eclipse.

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-- Garrett Therolf at Griffith Observatory

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