This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division.
The total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since 1979 — and the first that has traversed the entire continent coast-to-coast since June 8, 1918. The moon’s shadow will cut an approximately 70-mile-wide path diagonally across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Weather permitting, for a little over two minutes, those in the path will experience an ethereal twilight with a naked-eye view of the sun’s million-degree atmosphere called the corona.
More than 500 million people in North America alone will be able to catch the eclipse in either its partial or total phase, and parts of South America, Africa and Europe will see a partial eclipse as well. NASA is planning to take full advantage of this unique celestial event as an education and public engagement opportunity by using its extensive network of partners, numerous social media platforms, broadcast media and its space assets and experts to bring the eclipse to America and the world.
On June 15 in the Pickford Theater, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Library of Congress will be fortunate to have one of these experts, solar astrophysicist Dr. C. Alex Young, speak to us about the science and wonder of total solar eclipses. He will explain the celestial mechanics of the eclipse, viewing opportunities, and discuss how NASA will be studying the sun and Earth during this rare event. This is a free event, no reservations are needed.
Dr. Young spoke at the Library last September on “A Space Weather Report: Preparing Space Explorers for Bad Weather throughout the Solar System”. He is the Associate Director of Science for the Heliophysics Science Division at Goddard Space Flight Center, and in that role he oversees and coordinates the education and public outreach team for the division.
For inquiries about this program, contact Stephanie Marcus in the Science, Technology & Business Division at [email protected] or the division office at: 202-707-1212. Individuals requiring accommodations for this event are requested to submit a request at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].