There are less then two weeks left in the Old Bill’s fundraising period. Wyoming Stargazing needs your support in order for us to continue our Save Our Night Skies Campaign to reduce light pollution, to launch our Science Speaker Series, and to offer all the FREE public astronomy programming we facilitate in Jackson Hole. If you’ve attended one of our events please consider making a contribution that will get matched through Old Bill’s. Click here to make a donation now!
Wyoming Stargazing was featured in a NY Times article today about stargazing in the western hemisphere. Astrotourism is a rapidly growing industry and Wyoming Stargazing is honored to be a big part of sharing the Cosmos with the public. Read more…
Montana State University is launching numerous balloons along the path of totality into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at 100,000 feet to view the solar eclipse from the edge of space. The footage will be streamed live on MSU’s website, this is also the first time that a live stream of an eclipse has ever been attempted. This is a great option if you are unable to travel to somewhere within the path of totality or if bad weather ruins your view of the eclipse. MSU is expecting up to 500 million online viewers for the eclipse. All of the video taken of the eclipse can be watched at a later date as well.
To get an idea of what this will be like check out this awesome video from Australia of a total solar eclipse that happened in 2012
On August 21st check this link for the live footage from MSU
There is an interesting website called the 5000 Millennium Canon of Solar Eclipses made by the International Astronomical Union. The site has data for around 12,000 eclipses occurring from the 1999 BCE to 3000 CE. By putting in coordinates you can explore when solar eclipses have happened anywhere in the world in the past or find out if they will happen there in the future. The site makes a detailed map with Google Earth showing you the path of eclipses and can provide details such as the exact time of totality and the duration of totality based on your specific location. You can use this site to see when the next total solar eclipse will pass right over your house!
By clicking the button that says “find your coordinates on a map” you can zoom all the way in to your street and just click where your house is.
You can access the website here.
When the big day comes around, what should you do if the forecast does not look great?
Hopefully the weather here will be perfect for the day of the eclipse but if the weather isn’t looking great you may want to try to drive to another location. Unfortunately Jackson does not have very large roads leaving the town and it can be assumed that trying to get anywhere will be very difficult. It may just be best to remain in Jackson if the forecast does not look too bad. If you do feel the need to drive somewhere else for the eclipse you should probably head towards Eastern Wyoming. While the eclipse will be heading through Idaho, the weather there is frequently cloudy as the air is heavy with water vapor from the Pacific. Heading over the Togwotee Pass will bring you to the east towards Riverton, Wyoming. Riverton is a high elevation desert and is actually on average a little less cloudy than Jackson in August.
Luckily though the Tetons typically protect us from clouds here in Jackson. Clouds typically get “stuck” on the high mountain peaks while the sky below in the valley is typically clear.
For those looking to hike but not wanting to deal with getting in to the national park there are some shorter hikes that are right near town that can lead to good locations to view the eclipse. You can get to the top of Josie’s Ridge to view the eclipse. The hike is steep and short with a lot of area at the top where you can view the eclipse as well as trails that lead off from the top. For those not looking to hike there are many parks and public areas around Jackson and Wilson but keep in mind that these areas will probably be pretty busy so the earlier you get there the better.
Truly the total eclipse will be visible anywhere in the path of totality so long as there are not any trees or buildings in the way. The sun will be about 50 degrees up from level ground in the south east part of the sky here in Jackson. You can use a program such as Stellarium to see exactly where the Sun will be in the sky during totality by setting the location to exactly where you will be.