Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

All the planning comes down to now

 

August 17, 2017



Monday, Aug. 21 is just around the corner and we’re getting more and more excited about the solar eclipse and the thousands of people coming to Thermopolis and Wyoming to view it.

What, really, is a solar eclipse?

Well, sometimes when the moon orbits the Earth, it moves between the sun and the Earth. When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching Earth. This is known as a solar eclipse.

Total solar eclipses are only visible from a small area of Earth. Those lucky ones who get to see the total eclipse are right in the center of the moon’s shadow when it hits Earth. The sky will become very dark, as if it is night.

Some have described the moon passing between the Earth and the sun as a “black hole” in the sky.

The moon actually casts two shadows during an eclipse, the umbra and the penumbra.

The umbra gets smaller as it reaches Earth and is the dark center of the moon’s shadow.

The penumbra, on the other hand, gets larger as it reaches Earth.

People in the penumbra shadow will see a partial eclipse, while those standing in the umbra will see a total eclipse.

Not everyone is lucky enough to experience a solar eclipse when it happens, so being in the right place at the right time is the key. This is the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years.

You must be on the sunny side of the Earth when it happens or you’ll miss it. You also have to be in the path of the moon’s shadow or you’ll miss it again.

On average, the same spot on Earth only gets to see a solar eclipse for a few minutes every 375 years!

Here in Thermopolis we will be treated to a true celestial spectacle as we will be able to see the diamond ring, the sun’s glorious corona, strange colors in our sky and actually see stars in the daytime. Shadows will look different. Birds will stop chirping and the temperature will drop.

Our universe is incredible!

Informational hotline

The next several days are going to be very busy in Thermopolis and Hot Springs County with a lot of visitors in the area and a plethora of events to attend.

Most of the activities planned are listed in the Eclipse supplement that is included with this edition however, you or anyone staying with you for the big event may still have questions.

Answers are just a phone call away with the Hotline number established by Hot Springs County Emergency Management. Just call 307-864-8010 and a team of volunteers will be available to answer your questions.

Maybe you’re looking for somewhere to get a tire fixed or you’re not quite sure how to find the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. The Hotline is the best place to find those answers.

Of course, if it is an emergency, please dial 9-1-1 and first responders will soon be on their way to you.

The Hotline will be able to tell you what events are going on and where to find them as well as direct you to any services you or your visitors may need.

Don't forget the Star Party

Sunday night

For a chance to not only see, but identify the stars before the big eclipse event, check out the Star Party the night of Aug. 20.

During the party, retired professional astronomers Doctors Steve and Irene Little, in collaboration with local former middle school principal Dr. Robert Krisko, will acquaint people with a variety of celestial objects including visible planets, nebulae and galaxies, and point out many of the common constellations seen in the summer.

There will be telescopes set up for viewing, and people are invited to bring their own scopes, binoculars, flashlights and bug spray to enjoy the event for a couple hours before the next day’s eclpse. Also remember, at this time of year the nights are cool enough to require additional clothing to be comfortable.

Activities for the party will begin at about 9:30 p.m., weather permitting, and last for two hours. Unfortunately, the number of participants must be limited to 35 due to concerns regarding parking and access to the viewing site. Therefore, it’s requested persons register for the event at the counter in the Wyoming Dinosaur Center on Sunday, Aug. 20. Those who sign up will be given instructions to reach the party site, which will be in the local area.

For further information, contact Dr. Krisko at 307-760-0232.

Please see the informational insert about the eclipse in this edition of the Independent Record.

 

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