A total eclipse of the sun, visible from northeast Kansas, will occur on August 21st. This is the first total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States since 1979, and the first seen in Kansas in nearly 100 years.
Kansas State University Distinguished professor Chris Sorensen says the eclipse occurs when the moon gets exactly in front of the sun and its shadow falls upon the earth, creating a linear alignment.
"The sun shining light towards the moon and then directly behind the moon is the earth. But now in Kansas it’s even more special because not only is it an alignment between the sun, moon and earth, it is an alignment between the sun, the moon and Kansas, to make it real special."
Northeast Kansas will see the path of totality, a 68-mile-wide area, in which the moon completely covers the sun for two minutes and the sun’s corona will be visible. Over the next several months, Sorensen says Kansas State will be hosting events leading up to the eclipse.
"The most important thing on our agenda and certainly on my agenda is to make the whole state aware that this is going to happen. So that they are not surprised, they learn about it the day before, or even worse, the day after and miss the event."
Sorensen says he wants to make sure everyone understands the astronomical importance of this event.
"This is a very special occurrence, it’s a natural phenomenon that as much as the beauty of nature is around us, from rainbows to sunsets over the prairie, this thing is going to outdo all of those things. It is just something I hope everyone will be able to see."
Eclipse events at Kansas State, which include an astronomy viewing night and an eclipse watch party, kick-off tomorrow (4/11) with the 2017 Neff Public Lecture in Physics hosted by NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, known as “Mr. Eclipse” for his work in the industry. His presentation begins at 4 p.m. in Cardwell Hall. More information about the 2017 Total Eclipse can be found at: www.ksu.edu/eclipse.