Total Solar Eclipse

The Modern West 27: Dark Side Of The Moon

Sep 19, 2017
GreatAmericanEclipse.com

August’s total solar eclipse drew hundreds of thousands of people to Wyoming for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Caroline Ballard

If you still have your eclipse glasses, don’t throw them away just yet. The Wyoming Department of Transportation is partnering with the organization Astronomers Without Borders in an effort to redistribute them.

J O’Brien, a spokesman for WYDOT, said this was the most widely viewed eclipse in history, and many people used solar filter glasses to see it.

Melodie Edwards

Jill Tarter is a woman who struggled her entire career with a double whammy.

Not only she one of just a handful of women in her scientific field, but that field was the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), something most people consider the stuff of comic books.

Tarter’s daughter works for the National Outdoor Leadership School or NOLS in Lander and, while she was visiting her, she spoke to a sold out audience at the Lander high school the night before the solar eclipse. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with her.

Maggie Mullen

People have been making preparations for years to travel hundreds of miles to see the 2017 total solar eclipse. In Casper, where thousands of people showed up, skies were clear and views under the path of totality were once in a lifetime.

The day before the eclipse, and downtown Casper was hard to recognize. Second Street had been closed off to traffic and hundreds of pedestrians were checking out the food vendors and the many different kinds of eclipse swag on display. Resident and vendor Brooke Hopkins said the most coveted item was going fast.

Goshen County is not used to being a major destination. But thanks to the eclipse, it was. Over 100,000 people visited the county to set up tents and campers as well as visit local festivities.  Reporter Cooper McKim flew over the county, saw downtown Tor
Cooper McKim

Goshen County is not used to being a major destination. But thanks to the eclipse, it was. Over 100,000 people visited the county to set up tents and campers as well as visit local festivities. Reporter Cooper McKim flew over the county, saw downtown Torrington celebrate, and witnessed the eclipse with hundreds of others in Fort Laramie. Here’s what it felt like to be there:

SETI Institute

An award-winning astronomer famous for her search for extraterrestrial intelligence spoke to a sold out audience at the Lander high school the night before the eclipse. Author Carl Sagan based the central character of his novel Contact on Jill Tarter, and the book was also made into a movie with Jodie Foster. Tarter is a fellow at the SETI Institute (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence). 

287 Lander Southeast
WyDOT

Traffic got back to normal yesterday, according to Wyoming’s Department of Transportation. Officials reported historic levels of traffic Monday, the 21, following the solar eclipse or a 68 percent increase of overall traffic compared to the five-year average for the third Monday in August — much of that concentrated in central, western, and southern Wyoming.

Doug McGee, public affairs manager for WYDOT, said visitors started entering the state in larger numbers last Wednesday, picking up each day leading to the eclipse.

Site overlooking Fort Laramie B & B
Cooper McKim

During the eclipse, the Fort Laramie B & B saw a bigger crowd than they have ever seen. The four-bedroom lodge saw more than a hundred camped out. The crowd was comprised of a family reunion, researchers, and tourists all gathered together. A group from the University of Montana was there thanks to a space grant from NASA. 

One student, Loren Spencer, took advantage of the clear sky the night before the eclipse to set up his telescope. With several gathered around, he pointed to a long streak that he identified as the Milky Way. 

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Heavy eclipse traffic in Wyoming caused slower travel than usual. Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman Doug McGee said on Sunday alone traffic counts increased by more than 27 percent compared to the five-year average statewide. But certain areas saw exponential increases. For example, north of Laramie on U.S. 30-287 traffic increased by 214 percent on Sunday according to WYDOT.

Total Solar Eclipse: Wyoming Sounds Playlist And Live Coverage

Aug 21, 2017
GreatAmericanEclipse.com

Thanks for requests on Wyoming Sounds Solar Eclipse playlist today.  

publicdomainpictures.net

The solar eclipse has long been a research opportunity for astronomers and physicists. Now, energy researchers are taking part, too.

That's because the eclipse will disrupt U.S. solar energy production. It won't be a big disruption because solar still takes up a relatively small amount of the energy grid, but it'll happen when energy use is at its peak, and it’ll do so in a very predictable way across a huge area.

Kate Russo, a self-described eclipse chaser, said she is coming to Wyoming to watch the eclipse because of the state’s normally sunny August weather and impressive vistas.

“When you look at the whole path of totality, when you think about where would be the most ideal beautiful location to see such an amazing, awesome nature event, obviously Grand Teton National Park really stood out. And it stood out for many, many, many people,” said Russo.

Maggie Mullen

Wyoming towns in the path of totality for the solar eclipse are expecting huge crowds, including Casper, and hotel rooms there are almost entirely booked. As a result, a record number of locals are using the home sharing service Airbnb to accommodate visitors and to make some of that eclipse cash.

Casper residents Josh Thompson and Rachel Schuh are getting ready to welcome strangers into their home--they’ve signed up to be hosts on Airbnb.

Kate Russo

For most people, Monday will be the first - and possibly last - time they will ever see an eclipse. But for some seeing an eclipse is almost like an addiction. These people are called Eclipse Chasers. Think “Deadheads” for the sun; they’ll do anything to catch the next show.

David Makepeace, also known as “The Eclipse Guy,” said he was hooked after seeing his first total solar eclipse in Mexico’s Baja peninsula in 1991.

 At Torrington's H & R Block with Sally Cole, Linda Keener, Dawn Pickinpaugh -- in order from left to right
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

On a sunny day in downtown Torrington, local businesses are getting ready for the solar eclipse that’s now only days away. The H & R Block is one of them — accountants there are selling original eclipse-themed t-shirts. There’s a table outside, with black and white shirts of all sizes hung up behind it.

“So, what was the inspiration to make these shirts and to sell them here?” I asked. 

“Bills!” Sally Cole replied.

Tennessee Watson

 The sun will be getting a lot of attention on Monday, as spectators don their glasses and stare up at the solar eclipse. But for the first time ever you’ll be able to watch from above as the moon paints its shadow across the earth.

The opportunity is possible thanks to the countless hours put in by teams of volunteers -- dotted along the path of totality – who have been working hard to figure out how to share the eclipse live from space.  

 

Darrah Perez

Today in Riverton, a class full of Native American jewelry makers are learning how to screen print. Eastern Shoshone member Hope Abeyta wants to screen print her logo on a child-size tepee. The Central Wyoming College course was created specifically for the eclipse since Riverton and much of the reservation falls inside the eclipse’s shadow. The goal is to get these artists the business skills they need to be ready for the event. Abeyta says she found the class on Facebook and signed up.

Wyoming toad
Sara Armstrong / USFWS Mountain-Prairie

While you’re watching the eclipse next week, you might notice a change in the sound of wildlife around you. With the sudden switch from light to dark, along with a temperature drop, the eclipse may affect the behavior of certain animals — like rodents, birds, and amphibians.  

Grant Frost, a biologist with Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department, said, “Some animals will begin to awaken, to stir, because they think that night is coming on . . . you might hear some changes in the calls they make just because they’re thinking they should gather together or whatever the activity is.”

Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is taking several steps to prepare for what could be an influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors to the state during the August 21 total eclipse.

To start, WYDOT will stop construction on most projects in the path of totality from August 17 through the 23. No overweight or oversize permits will be issued between August 20 and 22 on Wyoming roads, and troopers will be working 12-hour shifts.

Bob Beck

Many Wyoming communities are expecting a surge in visitors in the days surrounding the August 21 eclipse, but Jackson officials say if the weather holds it could be anywhere between 50,000 to 80,000 extra people visiting the area. Jackson is always packed on that date, but the potential increase in visitors has led to months of planning and the hiring of a coordinator to make sure Jackson Hole can get through the event. 

Morganoshell (Own work) / Wikimedia Commons

Wireless service providers across Wyoming are expanding capacity and placing limits on data usage in anticipation of the August 21 total solar eclipse. There is the potential for an influx of hundreds of thousands of people to the state for the solar event, meaning some carriers could be slowed by the demand.

Wyoming's Wind River Country

The Northern Arapaho tribe's casino is one of many businesses in Wyoming planning events to celebrate the Great American Solar Eclipse happening August 21. Wind River Hotel and Casino marketing director Jackie Dorothy said the reservation is a good place to see the eclipse because it’s in the path of totality, and it’s expected to last a bit longer athan elsewhere at two minutes and 19 seconds. The tribe plans to offer free Native American song and dance performances every day starting the Thursday before the eclipse, and each evening they’ll offer star viewing parties.

By Ermell - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42799634, Cropped by Tennessee Watson

The 2017 Solar Eclipse overlaps the beginning of the school year in Wyoming. The majority of districts will start classes just after — on the 22 or 23 of August — and two districts in the path of totality made sure students had the day off. Fremont #6 starts on the 17, but students will have the 21 off. The school board in Fremont #24 voted to move the first day of school back to August 23, out of concern for the influx of visitors to the area.

Lander Art Center

70 art pieces depicting the total solar eclipse will open for display Friday at the Lander Art Center. Director Stacy Stebner said artists from all over the state and one from Iowa contributed works on canvas, cast in pewter, screen printed, in ceramics and more to capture the experience of the eclipse.

She said normally art must be bought at the end of an art show but this time they are selling it off the wall throughout the show to take advantage of a large turnout.

USPS

On August 21, a solar eclipse will be visible across a huge swath of Wyoming and across the country. To mark the occasion, a new stamp was dedicated by the United States Postal Service at the University of Wyoming Art Museum Tuesday.

People from around the state and around the country came for the dedication, including Denise Delgado, a postmaster at the Glendo post office, who said she first became interested in the eclipse a few years ago.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A University of Wyoming professor and her students assisted in the discovery of a new, very hot exoplanet. It’s known as KELT-9b and clocks in at more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit, just 2,000 degrees cooler than our sun. It is one of, if not the, hottest planets ever discovered, and orbits very closely to its sun.

University of Wyoming

A University of Wyoming astronomy professor is part of an international team of over 1000 scientists working to develop a telescope with an image up to 20 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Michael Pierce specializes in understanding the evolution of galaxies. He said the 30-meter telescope, as it’s called, will help do that.

Wyoming State Parks

Many communities and hotels in Wyoming are preparing for a busy few days surrounding the August eclipse. State Parks Administrator Dominic Bravo says that it should be very busy in parks along the eclipse.

Dr. Michael Pierce

Wyoming is scrambling to prepare for the August 21st total solar eclipse which could attract so many people here that it'll double the state's population. But one thing many people may not be prepared for is what to watch for in a total solar eclipse. Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with University of Wyoming astronomer Mike Pierce to get some tips. Pierce says this eclipse is known as the Great American solar eclipse because the shadow of it will race at almost 2,000 miles an hour across the entire U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. 

University of Wyoming Department of Physics and Astronomy

With the Great American Solar Eclipse coming up in less than three months, Wyomingites should find a good viewing site now. The population of the state is expected to double in size, but according to University of Wyoming astronomy professor Mike Pierce, they'll all be crowding into what's called the umbra, the 50-mile shadow of the moon that will make a stripe from Jackson to Torrington.

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