/ Modified apr 8, 2024 3:55 p.m.

Sun, moon, and spectacle: Thousands flock to UA mall for solar eclipse

The last total solar eclipse that could be seen in the United States was in 2017.

Eclipse Photo 4-8 HERO.jpg The solar eclipse captured on a camera on Monday, April 8, in Tucson, Ariz. Locals saw about 75% coverage at 11:19 a.m. today.
Katya Mendoza, AZPM News

Thousands gathered at the University of Arizona Mall Monday morning to view the solar eclipse. 

While Tucson did not fall on the path of totality, those who went to see the scientific phenomenon were able to see the moon cover 75% of the sun’s diameter. Many families took the time to leave work and school early to lay on the mall and watch the moon slowly move between the earth and the sun.

Eclipse Watching on a Bench 4-8 VIEW LARGER A group of three watch the solar eclipse in Tucson, Ariz., on Monday, April 8, on the University of Arizona campus mall.
Katya Mendoza, AZPM News

Luke Shatz, who stepped away from homeschooling, said it was his first time watching an eclipse.

“It looks like someone's eating their cookie very slowly,” Shatz said.

Tucsonan Taylor Hedges recalled watching an eclipse when she lived in the Midwest where the sun was more covered. For her, seeing people gather in the name of science made it a special event.

“It just brings the community together, getting everyone out here,” Hedges said. “I mean, there's tons of people out here that are all doing the same thing. It’s very rare that something like this happens that is not like a negative thing that draws tons of people.”

Eclipse on iPhone 4-8 VIEW LARGER A solar-eclipse event-goer takes a picture through eclipse glasses on the University of Arizona campus mall on Monday, April 8, in Tucson, Ariz. Glasses were sold from the UA's Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium.
Katya Mendoza, AZPM News

The National Weather Service estimated this year’s total eclipse lasted upwards of four and a half minutes depending on the location. Sunglasses with specialized and approved filters are needed to view the eclipse. Serious eye damage can occur if a solar eclipse is viewed with the naked eye. Nick Letson with the UA Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium says 4,806 sunglasses were sold during the event and over 30,000 were purchased overall.

Eclipse on UA Mall 4-8 VIEW LARGER Thousands gather on the University of Arizona campus mall to watch the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, in Tucson, Ariz.
Katya Mendoza, AZPM News
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