Witnessing the beauty of the eclipse, safely

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - As millions across the country will gaze up at the sky on Monday to watch the total solar eclipse. Many people in Tucson will head to the University of Arizona Mall to share the celestial moment.

It was a busy week at the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium as they prepared for what some are calling "The Great American Eclipse." 

"We had no idea that there would be this much enthusiasm," Associate Communications Director Shipherd Reed said. "There have been partial eclipses before here in Tucson, we've sold solar eclipse viewing glasses before, but we've never had this level of enthusiasm."

Their solar eclipse glasses were a hot commodity -- they sold thousands of them so people could safely watch the eclipse.

"We have re-ordered, to my knowledge, five times now," he said.

All of the enthusiasm could come from the fact that this total solar eclipse will cross directly over the entire country, starting in the Northwest and ending in the Southeast. 

The reason people need the glasses, or other forms of eye protection, to safely view the eclipse? People will be looking directly at the sun.

Bill Whitman is really looking forward to witnessing "The Great American Eclipse," this time with proper eye protection. The last time there was an eclipse, things didn't go so smoothly.

"I remember the last eclipse in the US, 38 years ago I think it was," he said. "And I didn't look at it the right way, and I kind of got a little spot in my eye."

This time around, he and his family made sure to get the proper eye protection so they can enjoy the moment together, without damaging their eyes.

Come Monday morning, they are looking forward to witnessing the same celestial event that millions of spectators across the world will see for a few hours.

"Here with my boys, having the chance now to do it is something they'll remember for their lifetimes," Whitman said. "Hopefully when they have their kids and the next eclipse comes, they'll remember this and be able to pass that down. It really is one of those things that you just share through the generations."

The eclipse is estimated to start around 9:15 a.m., and it will take the moon approximately three hours to completely cross over the face of the sun. The Tucson area will reach about 60% totality.

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