Are you a star gazer like me or just a science geek? Granted it is much harder to get excited about the billions and billions points of light out there because of light pollution. Regardless, I love to watch the night skies.
My favorite memory of star watching was a camping trip to the top of Medicine Bow Peak at 9,000+ feet. Far from civilization, including porch lights and security lights, I watched the Milky Way inch across the sky along with about a GAZILLION stars. Cool to say the least. Little wonder the early scientists studied the skies. They could see them.
Have you ever seen the moon pass in front of the sun, blocking out the light of day? This a very rare event to be sure. Come August 21 around noon, this will happen right over our heads. Only few of earth’s inhabitants get to see a total eclipse of the sun in their lifetimes because totality exists only along a narrow path on the Earth’s surface traced by the Moon’s shadow or umbra.
Those college words totality and umbra are terms used by astronomers. Totality is a term meaning the complete block of the sun from where you are standing on the earth. Umbra is a part of the shadow that will fall on the earth. “An eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Earth passes through the Moon’s shadow. The Moon’s shadow has two parts: a fainter outer region (in light gray) called the penumbra and a dark inner shadow (in dark gray) called the umbra.” Explained by www.nightskyinfo.com.
Actually Cheyenne residents will see a 98% eclipse. Our city will lay in the light grey area of the shadow. The time the sun is completely blocked out overheard will only be just over 2 minutes. The whole event will only take a little over an hour. So don’t blink you will miss something. Whatever you do don’t look at the sun while this is happening! You could burn your eyes and it is very dangerous. Get special glasses, a welding mask or make a pinhole
Lots more geeky info is found out there on the internet. I have been reading four different websites so far. https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/ is a great place to start.
Usually the path the umbra takes is going over the oceans and not many people live on the ocean. We are exceptionally lucky because this time the path will dissect our nation AND our state. Not as far to travel to see a full eclipse of the sun. The last total solar eclipse happened March 9, 2016 and was only visible from a small area of Polynesia. Long trip to make for star watching.
LCLS is planning several programs to get people jazzed up about the solar eclipse. A special program has been assembled by the people at StarNet. Short for Science Technology Activities and Resources for Libraries or go to http://www.starnetlibraries.org/2017eclipse/ . Our forward thinking staff has made it possible for this program to come here. Watch your calendars for more information or come join me camping in the path.
I am planning a trip to be smack in the middle of the shadow so I can watch a total eclipse of the sun. Whoot whoot! I feel like a kid again by being able to take off and watch something so amazing.