Looking Up: In Search Of Totality...

Jul 24, 2017

pick a spot, any spot...
Credit nasa.gov

This week on Looking Up Hal advises us on some of the best 'nearby' locations to catch the total solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017.  

Two weeks ago, in the first of several Looking Up episodes dedicated to the upcoming solar eclipse, I talked about how to safely view the partial eclipse here in Southern Colorado. In today’s episode, I want to urge you to get out of town! In other words, drive a few hours to see this stunning celestial event that most people won’t see in an entire lifetime.

While the whole of the United States will see a partial eclipse, wherein the moon blocks part or most of the sun’s disk, there is a narrow band of what we call “totality,” about 70 miles wide or so, where the moon completely blocks the sun’s disk, and where you can, in the middle of an August morning, see a stunning solar show. Like thousands of other people, I’m hitting the road to be in the middle of the path of totality, and you should think about doing the same!

There are lots of on-line maps of the eclipse path – a quick Google search will help you find them, but let me mention a couple of places you might consider going.

First, Casper, Wyoming is the prime spot for lots of people. Totality there will last 2 minutes and 26 seconds. Further east, Alliance, Nebraska will see a few more seconds of totality, while Grand Island, Nebraska gets even a few more.

The eclipse reaches its maximum at varying times, but mostly around mid-day.

If you’d like to take a closer look at the eclipse or any of the wonderful and amazing things in the sky, please visit csastro.org for a link to information on our monthly meetings and our free public star parties.

This is Hal Bidlack for the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society, telling you to keep looking up, Southern Colorado.