How America is Celebrating the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017
On August 21st, 2017, America will have the joy and exhilaration of experiencing a full solar eclipse. One of the most celebrated events, there will be a number of states that will be in the direct ‘path of totality’. A rare moment, when the moon completely covers the sun, the corona will be observed from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
While solar eclipses do happen around the world on a regular basis, the ‘rare’ part of the story is that they aren’t available for view very often where people have easy access. This makes this celestial event as a cause for celebration.
U.S. Postal Service launching ‘cool’ solar eclipse stamp
In a USA Today article they indicated:
“The agency announced Thursday it will release a stamp showcasing the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. Known as the "Total Solar Eclipse Forever" stamp, it transforms from the image of a black, eclipsed sun into an image of the moon with the heat of your finger.
The stamp image is a photo of a total solar eclipse seen in Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006. The photo was taken by retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka "Mr. Eclipse."
It's the first U.S. stamp to use thermochromic ink, which changes color with heat and light. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the moon, also taken by Espenak. The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools. The back of the stamp pane provides a map of the eclipse path.”
Viewing Parties in the Path
While there will be a number of incredible get-togethers around the U.S., those cities and towns that are in the path of totality are using this occasion to entice viewers into the realms of science and astronomy with gala events.
Space.com offers thirteen of the top locations that you will want to look into so that you can join the fun:
- The Oregon Solar Fest in Madras Oregon. This one looks epic. Hosted at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, this event will include music, lots of food and shopping vendors, and, of course, eclipse viewing. Hotels are booked, but tent and RV spaces may still be available. Tickets are required.
- The Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon. Hosted at Madras High School football field, this event will give attendees solar viewing glasses and viewing instruction. There will also be hourly astronomy talks, a Sunday evening "star party," exhibitions and vendors.
- The OMSI Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party in Salem, Oregon. A third event in Oregon, this one takes place at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. This massive festival will also feature science lectures, entertainment, and vendors. Tickets are required.
- The Glendo Total Solar Eclipse Festival in Wyoming. The town of Glendo lies close to the center of the path of totality and will host four-day festival (Aug. 18-21) featuring exhibits and displays, public speakers and eye-safety seminars. The festival will also have facilities and food vendors.
- The Total Solar Eclipse/150 Years Festival in Lathrop, Missouri. Another four-day festival (Aug. 18-21), this event will feature lots of special activities. Tickets are required for RV site reservation, campsite reservation and access to the primary viewing area.
- Eclipse viewing at the Rosecrans Memorial Airport in Joseph, Missouri. Front Page Science will host this observing event. While an exact schedule hasn't been published, the website indicates there will be solar-observing events on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20 as well. This event is free.
- Capital Eclipse Celebration in Jefferson City, Missouri. Located near the center of the path of totality, Jefferson City will host three days of eclipse-related events, music, and other entertainment, and viewing. Tickets may be required for some activities.
- Events in the greater St. Louis area. The total solar eclipse will be visible only in some parts of the city of St. Louis, but nearby cities deeper in the path of totality will host eclipse festivals and events. Those sites include Clair, Herculaneum, and Chester.
- The Hopkinsville Summer Salute Festival in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. This town is home to the "point of greatest eclipse," which means the moon will cover the sun for the longest period of time. The city is preparing for large crowds, so there are multiple options for eclipse viewing there, as well as activities to do before and after.
- Chattooga Belle Farm and Distillery Eclipse Fest in Long Creek, South Carolina. Located extremely close to the center of the path of totality, this two-day festival will feature music, food, vendors, astronomy talks and gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Tickets required.
- City of Clayton, Georgia. Smack dab in the middle of the path of totality, the city of Clayton is preparing to welcome eclipse visitors, with public viewing areas and local events.
- Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, South Carolina. What better place to view the eclipse than from a science center? Poised to experience about 2 minutes of totality, the Roper Mountain Science Center will feature special eclipse-week activities starting on Aug. 14, including a new planetarium show. The center will have astronomers on hand during the eclipse, on Aug. 21.
- Total Eclipse Weekend in Columbia, South Carolina. The city of Columbia lies very close to the center of the path of totality, and the entire city is gearing up for the event. Starting on Aug. 18, "attractions, cultural institutions, hospitality and retail businesses in Columbia … will host special eclipse-related events," according to the city's eclipse website.
NASA Has An Array of Suggested Events:
This is time for special celebrations and NASA has stepped up to the plate with an incredible website reference guide website. Using their interactive digital ‘maps’, you can find the nearest celebration location by type and interest:
General Events: “Instantly connect with local festivals, exhibits, parties, etc. Search for the ones that interest you.”
Libraries: “Choose from our growing list of registered libraries that will be hosting eclipse event in their communities. Find and contact a library near you!”
NASA Museum Alliance: “Find one of more than 800 NASA Museum Alliance member organizations around the world, and celebrate the eclipse with them no matter where you are!”
NASA’s Space Grant Ballooning Project: “The Eclipse Ballooning Project is a collaborative effort to live stream footage of the Moon's shadow during the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse from the edge of space - a feat that's never been done before.”
NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors: “The Solar System Ambassadors Program (SSA) is a public outreach program designed to work with motivated volunteers across the nation. These volunteers communicate the excitement of NASA’s space exploration missions and recent discoveries to people in their local communities. Find an Ambassador near you!”
NASA’s Night Sky Network: “The NASA Night Sky Network (NSN) is a consortium of more than 420 astronomy clubs across the US. Find events on August 21st and beyond. Will you be traveling to the eclipse? Check out the astronomy clubs’ events on your way. Find the astronomy club closest to you and join them for an event anytime.”
NPS Federal Land: “Experience the eclipse from one of our nation’s beautiful parks. Search here for specific parks/sites within your area.”
No matter what type of celebration you choose, be sure to take this opportunity to be witness to one of nature’s truly wondrous experiences. It will be something that will touch your heart and be part of a life moment that you will never forget.
Resources & More Information
For answers to 76 Frequently Asked Questions on this Solar Eclipse, Click HERE for FAQ
For Google Map of the PATH of TOTALITY across the USA, Click HERE for Solar Eclipse MAP
For State by State Information on this Solar Eclipse, Click HERE for INFO
For T-shirts, mugs, pillows, tote bags to celebrate, to commemorate, Click HERE for GEAR