eclipse

Kentucky Mesonet

The Kentucky Mesonet dramatically increased data collection at its 68 weather and climate monitoring stations during the solar eclipse. 

Melissa Griffin is responsible for data quality for Kentucky Mesonet, which is based at Western Kentucky University. She says the data that came in during the eclipse provides almost a real-time collection of atmospheric conditions.

Becca Schimmel

Approximately 2,000 people gathered at Western Kentucky University’s football stadium to view the total solar eclipse, with the much-anticipated  event bringing in school students from around the region.

Keith Brown, principal at Western Elementary in Ohio County, said he was looking forward to viewing the totality and having his students there to see it as well. 


On Monday, the moon will completely eclipse the sun, and people all over the U.S. will watch.

For those who have been boning up on eclipse trivia for weeks, congratulations. For everyone else, here are the things you need to know about the phenomenon.

Creative Commons

Emergency management agencies throughout Kentucky are used to being storm ready--but now they’re eclipse ready. 

First responders have spent the past several months preparing for potential threats that come with large events.  Melissa Moore, with the Warren County Emergency Management Agency, says they’ve been trying to anticipate problems before they happen.

“We’re pre-staging all of our fire apparatus. We’ve talked to the police department, the sheriff’s department. They’re going to be pre-staging people in order to reduce response times. The ambulance service is doing the same thing.”

Flickr/Creative Commons/Minnesota DOT

As someone who spent most of her career in international business, Joann Bundock has seen some amazing sights all over the world, but she’s headed home to her native Kentucky to see something else pretty spectacular-the first total solar eclipse to travel the width of North America in 99 years.

“My husband woke me up one morning and said ‘We’re going to Kentucky. There’s going to be a total eclipse of the sun and it’s going right over your family’s farm in Kentucky,'" Bundock told WKU Public Radio.  "This has been on his bucket list forever.”

The couple from Toronto, Canada will be among the sea of humanity rolling into western and southern Kentucky this weekend.  NASA estimates that as many as half-a-million people will converge on the region.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. is preparing to experience this summer’s blockbuster show-the first coast to coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. 

While solar eclipses aren’t uncommon, this one is significant. Not only is it a total solar eclipse, meaning the moon will completely blot out the sun, it will also be visible in portions of 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina. 

It’s been 38 years since a total eclipse was visible from the continental United States - and even then it was visible only in the northwestern U.S. & Canada.  Many eclipses are only visible from remote parts of the globe.


Lisa Autry

Every first Saturday in May, Kentucky is home to the most exciting two minutes in sports.  On August 21, the state will be home to the most exciting two minutes in astronomy…two minutes and 40 seconds to be exact. 

Hopkinsville, Kentucky will be the epicenter of the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the United States in 99 years.  For a town of just over 30,000 people, it’s a really big deal.

Dubbed "Eclipseville,” at least 50,000 visitors from around the globe are expected to descend on Hopkinsville.  Local parks will become campsites.  The National Guard will mobilize for crowd control.  Schools will close.

Jonell Edwards has lived in Hopkinsville since 1953 and has never seen her hometown this excited about anything.

"People from overseas are coming. I think everything is going to be crowded," stated Edwards.  "It’s only going to last a few minutes, but everybody’s coming to see it.”

The day of the long-awaited coast-to-coast solar eclipse has arrived — and if history is any guide, it's likely that somebody's eyes are going to get hurt.

On Aug. 21, a 70-mile-wide ribbon from Oregon to South Carolina called the "path of totality" will experience a total solar eclipse. Large swaths of farmland in the Great Plains and Midwest will be plunged into darkness for 2 1/2 minutes, and temperatures will drop about 10 degrees in the middle of the day.

But as millions of people look up at the sky, many Midwest scientists will turn their eyes and cameras toward the plants and animals on the ground. And they're not sure what will happen.

Anyone who gets to see the total solar eclipse on August 21 will be lucky — and humanity is lucky to live on a planet that even has this kind of celestial event.

Mercury and Venus, after all, don't even have moons. Mars has a couple, but they're too small to completely blot out the sun. Gas giants like Jupiter do have big moons, but they don't have solid surfaces where you could stand and enjoy an eclipse.

And, even with solid land and a moon, Earth only gets its gorgeous total solar eclipses because of a cosmic coincidence.

To see this month's total solar eclipse, the first one to be visible from the contiguous United States in nearly 40 years, all Donald Liebenberg will have to do is open his front door and step outside.

"It's a really special treat to be able to have one in my driveway," says Liebenberg, who has trekked to Turkey, Zambia, China and Pukapuka, a remote island in the Pacific, to see past eclipses.

NASA

A total solar eclipse will race across the U.S. this month from Oregon to South Carolina, offering a once-in-a-lifetime celestial show. 

On Aug. 21, the moon will pass in front of the sun, casting its shadow across all of North America.  All of Kentucky will see a partial eclipse, but many places in the commonwealth will experience a total eclipse. 

With two minutes and 40 seconds of totality, Hopkinsville is considered the best viewing location in the world, but an astronomy professor at Western Kentucky University says other cities in Kentucky are attractive viewing spots, as well.  Dr. Richard Gelderman says, for example, Franklin will have totality for two minutes and 25 seconds.

NASA

As Bowling Green, Hopkinsville, Franklin and other Kentucky cities in prime viewing area prepare for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, NASA is issuing a warning.

NASA has been alerted that some unsafe eclipse glasses are being sold to consumers. Special eye protection is needed for safe viewing of the astronomical event.   

NASA says the only glasses that should be used are produced by four companies – American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, TSE 17 and Thousand Oaks Optical. 

The safe glasses must also have the reference number ISO 12312-2.

NASA has details on safe eclipse viewing glasses and on the solar eclipse on its website

The path of the eclipse runs across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Locations nearest the center line will experience darkness for two-minutes-and-43-seconds.

Western Kentucky University

The stars have aligned for a national organization of Corvette enthusiasts holding its national convention in Bowling Green, Kentucky beginning Aug. 21.

That’s the day of the solar eclipse and Bowling Green is in the prime viewing area.

Bowling Green is the only place the Corvette is made, so car clubs often have conventions in town and the GM Corvette plant is always on the ‘must see’ list.

WKU Hardin Planetarium

Western Kentucky University is planning for its football stadium to be filled with a crowd of 8,000 to 20,000 school-age children for the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. 

WKU has invited area school districts to share the highly anticipated event that will cause the day to go dark for about one minute at 1:27 p.m. in Bowling Green.

The path of the eclipse runs across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Locations nearest the center line will experience darkness for two-minutes-and-43-seconds. Bowling Green is at the edge of the “path of totality” for the eclipse.

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