Thousands of Mainers looked skyward Monday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the Great American Eclipse as it passed through the state around 2:45 p.m.

From Portland to Freeport to Augusta, hundreds joined community gatherings to see what was a partial eclipse in Maine but a total eclipse along the relatively narrow “path of totality” from Oregon to South Carolina.

A few hundred eclipse watchers started gathering at 1 p.m. at the Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine, eager to see the moon pass between the sun and Earth. Some waited outside in the August heat and gazed at the shrinking crescent through special eclipse glasses designed to prevent eye injury. Others waited in line to use a high-powered telescope equipped with a light filter. Still others had reserved seats inside the planetarium, where they watched a live feed of total eclipse coverage as it crossed the country.

Sue Ward, a retired Portland school administrator, was one of the early arrivals inside the planetarium.

“There’s just something about being here and being with people who are enjoying this event,” said Ward, 65, whose love for astronomy goes back decades. “I had a telescope as a kid growing up in northern Maine. Without all the city lights, you could see all the stars and constellations in Presque Isle.”

Barbara Coleman and her 5-year-old granddaughter, Sophia Coleman, spied the advancing eclipse through the telescope outside the planetarium, then went indoors to watch a live feed of national eclipse coverage in an overflow lecture hall.

“She’s so excited,” Coleman said of her granddaughter. “She knows all about (the eclipse) and wanted to come here.”

The last solar eclipse with a totality path extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic occurred in 1918, said Edward Gleason, planetarium manager. Astronomy fans dubbed Monday’s event the Great American Eclipse because it was the first total solar eclipse with a totality path that was visible only on U.S. soil since 1257, Gleason said.