Local events planned for total solar eclipse - Republic-Times | News

Local events planned for total solar eclipse

By on May 17, 2017 at 3:18 pm

The above map shows where the longest viewing periods of the Aug. 21 Total Solar Eclipse will occur.

At 1:17 p.m. Aug. 21, a major solar phenomenon will draw thousands of spectators for viewing parties and an educational opportunity.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit aligns between the sun and the earth, creating a darkness similar to nighttime.

The last total solar eclipse viewed from North America was July 7, 1972, its path stretching from Northern Alaska to Nova Scotia. However, there have not been any such eclipses in this region.

Southern Illinois will again be in the path of a total solar eclipse in 2024.

The totality of the Aug. 21 eclipse will be two minutes and 40 seconds in southern Illinois. Waterloo, Columbia and Clifftop are planning special events to enliven the experience.

Here is what is planned:
The City of Waterloo and the recently established Explore Waterloo merchants group will host a “Solarbration” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Monroe County Fairgrounds. At least 2,000 solar glasses will be available to attendees who will view the eclipse.

Entry to the event is free. Live music will be performed by Brad Noe, and there will be food vendors, an artisan fair and total solar eclipse experts on hand. Special edition Explore Waterloo glow-in-the-dark t-shirts will be available for purchase.

For more information, or to sign up to be a vendor, go to facebook.com/WaterlooILSolarbration or contact City Hall at 939-8600, ext. 211.

The City of Columbia is hosting a “Total Eclipse in the Park” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 21 at Bolm-Schuhkraft Park, which will include food trucks.

Sue Spargo, Columbia’s community relations and tourism coordinator, said the Hampton Inn is already booked full that day. The Gypsy Jones Band will provide live entertainment.

For protective eye wear, the city will charge $1 for glasses with about 3,000 available. Contact Spargo at 281-7144, ext. 134.

Clifftop will host an event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve at 3255 G Road in Fults. Attendees will be able to view the eclipse for a total of two minutes and 31 seconds, which is just nine seconds shy of its totality.

Viewing glasses will be available for free. In addition, Clifftop membership chair Joann Fricke said entertainment is being planned. People are encouraged to bring their own lunch and seating.

Also planned for the event, Fr. Paul Wightman, Rev. Sheldon Culver and Washington University professor Michael J. Krawczynski will give presentations.

“I think it will be really good to have the Catholic, Protestant and scientific perspectives on the eclipse,” Fricke said.

For more information, go to clifftopalliance.org. Reservations are required by calling 935-2542 or emailing cliffmbr@htc.net by Aug. 19. This event is limited to only 200 attendees.

The Valmeyer, Columbia and Waterloo school districts will begin the 2017-18 school year just prior to the date of the eclipse. Each school district is planning viewing opportunities for students and have formed committees to plan educational activities.

In Columbia, superintendent Dr. Gina Segobiano said Columbia High School and Columbia Middle School students will gather at the multipurpose field for viewing.

Waterloo Junior High School science teacher Deb Clinebell said Waterloo’s committee will help teachers plan events around the eclipse based on class subject.

“The solar event teaches us that there is much we do understand and know about our natural world, and we can make predictions through applied mathematics,” Clinebell said. “We can calculate when such natural events will occur and we can know exactly where the best viewing will be years in advance.”

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Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years. email:sean@republictimes.net