/ Modified aug 21, 2017 4:24 p.m.

Tucsonan: Path of Totality 'Well Worth It'

He made the trip to Wyoming to get the full experience, and encourages people to see the next one in 2024.

Eclipse 2017 path of totality A map of the path of the total solar eclipse occurring Aug. 21, 2017. (PHOTO: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio)

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Thousands of people went outside Monday in Tucson to see a partial solar eclipse.

Tucsonan Larry Schnebly was among those Southern Arizonans who traveled to the path of totality to have the full experience. He recounted the experience by phone while he and his family were stopped along a windy eastern Wyoming highway.

As the moon moved across the face of the sun, the occupants of several dozen vehicles took their places on a hillside and along the roadside near the Schnebly clan. A man playing an indigenous Australian instrument serenaded them.

"It’s a once in a lifetime experience that some people are going to get to have more than once in a lifetime.”

“Now it’s starting to get a little darker and the didgeridoo man is playing more loudly,” Schnebly said. Overhead was a hot air balloon and several small aircraft getting aerial views of the eclipse.

As the sun's light was fully blocked by the moon, Schnebly described it: "There is a total circle of haloed light surrounding the moon."

Larry Schnebly_spot Tucsonan Larry Schnebly traveled to Wyoming to witness the total solar eclipse Aug. 21, 2017. (PHOTO: Laurie Schnebly)

And as the sun started to reappear, "Dawn is coming up like thunder over the mountainous plain terrain we’re standing in.”

Schnebly, a retired television station executive, said this was the first eclipse he witnessed in person. While he doesn't view it as "life changing," he recommends experiencing totality.

“Oh, it’s well worth it, if you’ve got an opportunity to go by all means do so. Yeah. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that some people are going to get to have more than once in a lifetime.”

The next total solar eclipse to bisect the country — from Texas north to Ohio, across Lakes Erie and Ontario and over northern New York and New England — is April 8, 2024.

Arizona Science Desk
This story is from the Arizona Science Desk, a collaborative of the state's public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Arizona Science Desk.
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