COLUMBIA, Missouri - Central Missouri was one of the spots Monday across the country that had the best view of the eclipse's totality.

Close to 2,000 students at Columbia Rock Bridge High School took in the solar phenomenon.

Forty-five years ago, Columbia Public Schools included a large planetarium when Rock Bridge was built.  

Retired Columbia Schools Superintendent Russell Thompson said News 9's Steve Shaw's father, Robert Shaw, was the driving force behind the planetarium.

"After the jet, followed by the space age, there was much enthusiasm to learn more about the solar system," Thompson said. "The idea of the planetarium was very unique."

Thompson succeeded Steve Shaw's dad as Columbia's superintendent in 1976. Robert Shaw died seven years ago.