FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY CONTACT: Rick Fienberg, AAS Press Officer 202-328-2010 x116, fax: 617-744-1280 email:firstname.lastname@example.org DIRECT CONTACT INFORMATION: Dr. Angela Speck, email@example.com, 573-489-6075
National Eclipse Expert Visits Lander and Ft. Washakie
On August 21st the United States will experience its first total solar eclipse since 1991. This is the first Total Solar Eclipse on the continental USA since 1979; and the first one to cross the continent from ocean to ocean since 1918. There was one that was visible from Hawaii and Mexico in 1991. It is the first total solar eclipse to be visible from ONLY the US since became a country.
There is a total solar eclipse visible from somewhere on Earth almost every year, but the region from which is cab be seen constitutes only about 0.1% of the planet’s surface; most people never see a total solar eclipse. The path of totality (from whence one can view the total eclipse) is approximately 70 miles wide and runs from the pacific coast of Oregon to the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, transiting Wyoming along the way. Nationwide, there are 12 million people live on the path of totality; 88 million live within 200 miles! The entire population of the USA is no more than a long day’s drive from the path. The entire country gets to see a significant partial solar eclipse. Even Maine – which is as far from totality as one can get – still see more than 60% of the sun blocked by the moon. This will be the most watched celestial event EVER!
People travel all over the world to see total solar eclipses. The difference for the eclipse on August 21st 2017 is that there are no borders and nothing to stop anyone in the US traveling to the path of totality. Furthermore, many countries have visa waiver agreements, and this is a country that is largely considered safe for westerners (despite the guns). Even if only 4% of the US population outside the path of totality travels to the path, that will double the population and this doesn’t not include the influx of foreign visitors. All these visitors need (1) accommodation; (2) food; (3) safety advice for the eclipse (more on this shortly). If clouds set in at any given location, some of the visitors will go mobile to find a clear viewing spot. Traffic volume will be on a scale we associate with large sporting events
Dr. Angela Speck, director of astronomy at the University of Missouri, is co-chair of a national task force whose charge is to aide the whole nation in planning for this celestial event. She will be giving a public talk at 6PM, Monday June 19, at the Lander Valley High School Auditorium (350 Baldwin Creek Rd) that will include why this particular eclipse is so important, what challenges are faced in planning for the eclipse, and the numerous opportunities for the general public to be engaged in science of the eclipse. She will also be offering a workshop for all ages on Tuesday, June 20 at 3PM at the Lander Children’s Museum (465 Lincoln St; just off Main St). On Tuesday, June 27, Dr. Speck will be giving her presentation along with some interactive activities at the Frank B. Wise Conference Room in Ft. Washakie from 2-4 pm.