SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – For most, the gravity of Monday’s extraordinary celestial event isn’t fully appreciated.

Part of the reason is because the average person doesn’t understand the rarity of the Great American Eclipse from a scientific point of view.

San Diego public libraries and the University of California, San Diego Extension presented programs on the history and science of solar eclipses to help the public gain a better handle on things.

"The fact that it's going all the way across the continental U.S. is pretty neat," said UCSD PhD student Dallas Sherman. Sherman led one program at a city library in Kearny Mesa where she and participating children simulated the eclipse using dry ice.

The programs were meant to help local families observe and experience the eclipse safely and educationally. Programs were held at local libraries from Logan Heights to Rancho Penasquitos as part of the libraries’ NexT program, which hosts free STEAM education workshops.