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ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY -

Missouri Prepares for Eclipse 2017
While all Missourians will view at least a 90 percent solar eclipse, there is a 300 mile long and 70 mile wide path across Missouri where you can view a total solar eclipse. Graphics courtesy NASA
Missouri Prepares for Unique Astronomical Event
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), July 30, 2017 - For the first time in 148 years (August 7, 1869) a total solar eclipse will come to Missouri.

The 1869 eclipse only clipped the northeast corner of our state. The upcoming eclipse promises to be even better as the center of the eclipse's path will follow a diagonal line crossing Missouri from Buchanan County in the northwest to Perry County in the southeast.

Be sure not to miss this historic event which is expected to draw spectators from around the world. While all Missourians will view at least a 90 percent solar eclipse, there is a 300 mile long and 70 mile wide path across Missouri where you can view a total solar eclipse.

Depending upon where you are in the state, the eclipse will begin, August 21, 2017, between 11:30 a.m. and noon, and will continue until between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Events across the state are planned for this unique astronomical event. An additional 1.2 million people are expected to visit Missouri between Friday, August 18 and Tuesday, August 22.

Motorists are advised to expect heavy traffic on Missouri's interstates and all roads inside the area of the total eclipse. Extreme congestion is expected once the eclipse passes in the afternoon.


2 Million Free Eclipse Glasses Coming to US Libraries
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), July 30, 2017 - Over 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses will be distributed by libraries and library organizations across the U.S. for the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse.

Public libraries across the United States will distribute more than 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses to skywatchers for the total solar eclipse that will sweep over the country on Aug. 21, 2017. The glasses will be provided by a major outreach program initiated by the Space Science Institute (SSI).

The so-called the Great American Eclipse will pass over the U.S. along a stretch of land from Oregon to South Carolina. Viewers in the path of totality, which spans about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide, will see the moon directly pass in front of the sun, briefly turning day into twilight. Skywatchers outside that path will still see a partial eclipse, when part of the sun will still be in view.

Looking up at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage, which is why skywatchers need special solar-viewing glasses. Some 4,800 library organizations throughout the country will be giving away free glasses as part of an outreach project funded by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to SSI, a nonprofit corporation focused on science research, education and outreach. The project is also supported by Google, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, according to a statement from the SSI.

"The Moore Foundation is pleased to help 2 million eyes enjoy and understand this astronomical spectacle with astronomical spectacles," Dr. Robert Kirshner, chief program officer for science at the Moore Foundation, said in the statement.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for libraries and their communities to work together to participate in a celestial event of this scope," Paul Dusenbery, project director for the SSI National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL), said in the statement. "Many organizations, like NASA, the National Science Foundation and the American Astronomical Society, are working together to help people understand and view the eclipse safely, and we are delighted to be part of this important educational effort."


NASA Prepares for August 21 Total Solar Eclipse with Live Coverage
ST. LOUIS, MO, (PRNewswire-USNewswire), July 30, 2017 - For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will occur across the entire continental United States, and NASA is preparing to share this experience of a lifetime on Aug. 21.

Viewers around the world will be provided a wealth of images captured before, during, and after the eclipse by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station each offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event.

NASA Television will air a multi-hour show, Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA, with unprecedented live video of the celestial event, along with coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals and museums across the nation, and on social media.

Coast to coast, from Oregon to South Carolina, 14 states will over a span of almost two hours experience more than two minutes of darkness in the middle of the day. When the moon completely blocks the sun, day will turn into night and make visible the otherwise hidden solar corona, the sun's atmosphere. Bright stars and planets also will become visible. Using specialized solar viewing glasses or other equipment, all of North America will be able to view at least a partial eclipse lasting two to four hours.

"Never before will a celestial event be viewed by so many and explored from so many vantage points from space, from the air, and from the ground," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "With our fellow agencies and a host of scientific organizations, NASA will continue to amplify one key message: Take time to experience the Aug. 21 eclipse, but experience it safely."

Viewing Safety

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. In the 70-mile-wide swath of the country that will experience a total eclipse, it's safe to look at the total eclipse with your naked eyes only during the brief period of totality, which will last about two minutes, depending on your location.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially-eclipsed sun is with a pinhole projector. With this method, sunlight streams through a small hole such as a pencil hole in a piece of paper, or even the space between your fingers onto a makeshift screen, such as a piece of paper or the ground. It's important to watch the screen, not the sun.

Studying Our Sun

Many researchers and citizen scientists will take advantage of this unique opportunity to study our sun, solar system, and Earth under rare circumstances. The sudden blocking of the sun during an eclipse reduces the light and changes the temperature on the ground, creating conditions that can affect local weather and animal behavior.

Understanding the sun has always been a top priority for space scientists. These scientists study how the sun affects space and the space environment of planets a field known as heliophysics. As a source of light and heat for life on Earth, scientists want to understand how our sun works, why it changes, and how these changes influence life on Earth. The sun's constant stream of solar material and radiation can impact spacecraft, communications systems, and orbiting astronauts.

"Eclipse 2017 provides an incredible opportunity to engage the entire nation and the world, inspiring learners of all ages who have looked to the sky with curiosity and wonder," said Steven Clarke, director of NASA's Heliophysics Division in Washington.

NASA spacecraft capturing the event include: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which will turn toward Earth to track the shadow of the moon on our planet; a host of Earth-observing spacecraft, which can both observe the shadow of the moon and measure how it affects Earth's weather; and a fleet of solar observing spacecraft. NASA images and data of the eclipse will complement that collected by other scientific organizations.


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