411.03 Educating the Public about the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (Jay M. Pasachoff)

Date & Time

Jan 7th at 10:20 AM until 10:30 AM




Rating ( votes)

Author(s): Jay M. Pasachoff1

Institution(s): 1. Williams College

On behalf of the International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Solar Eclipses, I have long worked to bring knowledge about eclipses and how to observe the safely to the people of the various countries from which partial, annular, or total solar eclipses are visible. In 2017, we have first a chance to educate the people of South America on the occasion of the February 26 annular eclipse through southern Chile and Argentina that is partial throughout almost the entire continent (and an eclipse workshop will be held February 22-24 in Esquel, Argentina: http://sion.frm.utn.edu.ar/WDEAII) and then a chance to educate the 300 million people of the United States and others in adjacent countries as far south as northern South America about the glories of totality and how to observe partial phases. Our website, a compendium of links to information about maps, safe observing, science, and more is at http://eclipses.info. We link to important mapping sites at EclipseWise.com, GreatAmericanEclipse.com, and http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/solar_eclipses/xSE_GoogleMap3.php?Ecl=+20170821&Acc=2&Umb=1&Lmt=1&Mag=1&Max=1, and information about cloudiness statistics at http://eclipsophile.com, as well as simulation sites at https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=4314 and http://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov. The American Astronomical Society's task force on the 2017 eclipse has a website at http://eclipse.aas.org. We are working to disseminate accurate information about how and why to observe the total solar eclipse, trying among other things to head off common misinformation about the hazards of looking at the sun at eclipses or otherwise. About 12 million Americans live within the 70-mile-wide band of totality, and we encourage others to travel into it, trying to make clear the difference between even a 99% partial eclipse and a total eclipse, with its glorious Baily's beads, diamond rings, and totality that on this occasion lasts between 2 minutes and 2 minutes 40 seconds on the centerline.
Our research on the 2017 total solar eclipse is supported by grants from the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society and from the Solar Terrestrial Program of the Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation.