BOSTON (CBS) — Thousands turned out around Greater Boston to view the solar eclipse, which passed from coast to coast Monday afternoon.

At the MIT Observatory in Westford, more than 100 people gathered on the lawn to watch the rare cosmic event that won’t come around again until 2024.

It was the largest crowd to ever gather there, spreading out chairs, watching the eclipse through special sunglasses, and taking turns looking through bigger, powerful telescopes.

Observatory manager Tim Brothers told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones what kinds of questions the people who showed up were asking.

“I think the main question is what exactly are we looking at, why is it important, why is it significant–besides just the cool factor that something is changing in the sky?” he said. “I think anything in astronomy is cool, I think it just happens to be a special event where the entire country is able to see the same event at the same time. It’s just sort of nice that we’re all able to do something together right now.”

Scientists and spectators got a good look at some sunspots and gas eruptions, and recorded their observations for studies over many months to come.

eclipsekids Solar Eclipse Draws Crowds Around Greater Boston

Kids view solar eclipse at MIT Observatory in Westford (WBZ-TV)

There was a noticeable drop in temperature there by the time the eclipse hit it’s peak.

“It does feel cooler, doesn’t it? That’s the kind of data NASA’s looking for,” said Brothers. “We’ve been recording all of this, so we’ll be able to feed that in and see if everybody else felt the same thing.”

In Waltham, a group of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts gathered to learn about and watch the eclipse.

“It looked like a giant yellow cookie that was made out of lava, and somebody took a bite of it,” said one child.

Boston Police Superintendent In Chief William Gross tweeted out a photo of himself and other members of the department viewing the eclipse, and reminded the public to view the event safely.

Northeastern University held a viewing party on Centennial Common.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

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