MAZATLÁN, Mexico — The Mexican city of Mazatlán is the first place the total solar eclipse will be visible as it emerges over the Pacific Ocean today, and the weather here is perfect.

Astronomy fans, scientists and kids alike have been waiting for this day for a while. Even Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, came to mark the occasion.

This small beach city along the Pacific has attracted people from all over the world to catch the eclipse. That includes NASA, which selected Mazatlán for a watch party and live stream.

Small booths lining the seafront have been handing out "Eclipse Solar Sinaloa 2024" glasses. Bands play on the beach and the promenade is teeming with tourists. Like accommodation everywhere along the eclipse belt, hotels and Airbnbs are at premium prices. And anyone with a boat is doing a brisk trade renting them out to those tourists who want to view the eclipse from the ocean.

Roberta Saraco, an 11-year-old from Mazatlán, says she is very excited as she and her family gear up for the eclipse in a park in Mazatlán.

For her mother, Tania Cerrillo, the anticipation has been 33 years in the making, ever since she saw a partial eclipse as a kid. She and her siblings saw the day get dark, the sun came back out and the birds started chirping.

Today's eclipse is such an event in Mazatlán that kids don't have school and many parents like Cerrillo are taking the day off work.

But for David Esquivel, a college professor and member of the Mazatlán Astronomy Society, it's a very busy day. He's been welcoming scientists from NASA and even eclipse chasers from Finland, England, Canada.

"For some of us, it's maybe one of the most important days of our lives," he told NPR.

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