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Science and Innovations

Arizona Astronomers Make Plans for "Great American Eclipse"


Six months from today a total solar eclipse will cross the nation from coast to coast. The last time that happened was nearly a century ago. From the Arizona Science Desk, Melissa Sevigny reports on how Arizona astronomers are gearing up for the “Great American Eclipse.”

The moon’s shadow will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a 70-mile-wide strip. This region is called the “path of totality.” It’s the only place to see the moon completely block the sun for a few minutes. Astronomers from Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory will host a public celebration in Madras, Oregon, close to where the eclipse makes landfall.

“A total solar eclipse is life-changing,” says Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory’s public information officer and historian. “We’re going to have a whole football field of activities, from telescopes to students setting up science experiments, and some of those students are coming from right here in Flagstaff.”

Arizona is not in the path of totality. But a partial solar eclipse will be visible. Local celebrations are already planned in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and Sierra Vista.

Learn more about Lowell Observatory’s event or visit NASA’s eclipse website.

Credit NASA
NASA map showing the path of totality for the August 21 solar eclipse.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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