Total Solar Eclipse

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.

travelwyoming.com

Are you making plans for the upcoming Solar Eclipse on August 21st?

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The city of Casper will become the national headquarters for a rare total solar eclipse in the summer of 2017. The event is expected to temporarily double the city’s population. That’s because Casper will be in the middle of the path of the moon’s shadow, which will enter the US in Oregon, cut a swath across the width of the country, exiting in South Carolina.