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Wyoming Stargazing Blog

100 Days Until Totality! 55 Days Left – Eclipse Chasing in the Arctic

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For some folks, seeing a total solar eclipse is a single chance in a lifetime. For eclipse chasers, it’s an exciting opportunity to travel the world and see an incredible event from a multitude of places on Earth. This unique hobby entails making costly and time-consuming treks to the farthest reaches of the globe for the best views of a total solar eclipse. Though the activity presents many challenges, at the same time, it can be incredibly rewarding.
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100 Days Until Totality! 56 Days Left – Odds of the Millennial Eclipse

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What are the odds of seeing a total solar eclipse in your area? Solar Eclipses happen on average around every 18 months somewhere in the world. But to be in the umbra, or the moon’s shadow, at just the right place and time, either you’ll have to be incredibly lucky, you’ll have to travel, or wait an average of 360 years for it to occur again in your area!

Perhaps one of the most privileged and most viewed solar eclipses of human existence was the Millennial Eclipse of August 19th, 1999, almost exactly 18 years before the upcoming Great American Eclipse.
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100 Days Until Totality! 57 Days Left – A Summary of North American Total Solar Eclipses of the 20th Century

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Credit: www.GreatAmericanEclipse.com

On June 8, 1918 a total solar eclipse was seen from coast to coast. The path of totality went from Washington to Florida. Until the eclipse this year this will have been the most recent eclipse that went from one side of the country to the other.

A total solar eclipse occurred over southwestern California and Mexico on September 10, 1923. However, cloudy weather ruined many attempts to see this eclipse.

New York City was lucky to have a total solar eclipse January 25, 1925.
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100 Days Until Totality! 58 Days Left – A New Physics

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One of Albert Einstein’s greatest contributions to science was his Theory of General Relativity, formulated between 1913 and 1916. This revolutionary theory contradicted Newtonian mechanics, which up until this point, was the leading explanation for the behavior of the known universe. With Einstein’s breakthrough, he provided fundamental new understandings of time and space measurement.

Hubble telescope captures an example of gravitational lensing in this “smiling” image

General Relativity was difficult to understand and to be accepted, it was necessary that Einstein’s theory predicted or explained some observed phenomenon that the Newtonian theory could not.
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100 Days Until Totality! 59 Days Left – The Last Great Wyoming Eclipse Finale: A New Planet?

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During the Last Great Wyoming Eclipse, James Craig Watson made claims to a fantastic discovery that rose him to immediate fortune, fame, and . . . a new planet?

James Craig Watson
Bentley Historical Library

In 1859, it had been discovered that there were discrepancies in Mercury’s orbit. It was noted that Mercury’s point of perihelion, or closest approach to the sun in orbit, moved to a different location every century or so. Watson was convinced that the phenomenon was due to another planet orbiting between the sun and Mercury.
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100 Days Until Totality! 60 Days Left – The Last Great Wyoming Eclipse: Part 2

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Credit: Vasser College

The total solar eclipse of 1878 also brought the first professional female astronomer out west, Maria Mitchell. Maria grew up learning astronomy from her father and helped him calculate the exact time of an annular eclipse when she was only 12 years old. Maria’s first solo accomplishment was the discovery of a comet at the age of 29. In 1865 Maria became a professor of astronomy at Vassar College where she fought to be paid equal to the male professors at the college.
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