Solar eclipse exictement fills UA mall Monday morning - Tucson News Now

Solar eclipse exictement fills UA mall Monday morning

Crowds on the UA Mall to view the solar eclipse. (Source: Tucson News Now) Crowds on the UA Mall to view the solar eclipse. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

As crowds of people stretched across the University of Arizona mall Monday morning, Aug. 21, to enjoy the solar eclipse over Tucson, the staff at Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium couldn't believe the size of its viewing party.

"We were stunned," Flandrau's Associate Director of Communications Shipherd Reed said.

The planetarium team estimated Monday's event at 1,500 people. Reed said staff kept busy with professional-grade telescopes and astronomy students provided answers for all the amateur questions about the eclipse.

Michelle Higgins pulled her son Mike, a high school senior, out of class to experience the eclipse on campus. She said they waited too long to buy glasses so they made their own viewer.

"If you were at an eclipse using a cereal box staring at the ground, people would think you're crazy but here people would probably understand it's just cool," Mike said.

Raul Olivas picked up his grandson from school to see the eclipse on campus. He said OJ Rodriquez's parents were working, so he wanted to make sure the boy could experience something he couldn't see at school.

"It's just amazing to see the solar eclipse," Rodriquez said. "I wish my telescope could see this."

Bethysa Bueno scooped up her kids as well. She said Giulia and Mateus could have watched with the rest of their classmates, but she couldn't pass up the event on campus.

"We have a really nice community here at the U of A," she said.

Don Hubman would agree. He and his fellow El Grupo Youth Cycling riders biked onto the mall to avoid any traffic. Hubman said they wanted to remain mobile so they could see the eclipse from various spots around Pima County. He said the university was a solid starting place.

"There's an energy,"  Hubman said. "There's a promotion of being outside."

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