CMC to host public astronomy event Friday |

CMC to host public astronomy event Friday

Total eclipse of the sun.

— Members of the Colorado Mountain College SKY Club will host a free public astronomy night program at 7 p.m. Friday in the Allbright Family Auditorium on CMC’s Steamboat Campus. Steamboat Today is co-sponsoring the event.

CMC astronomy professor and SKY Club faculty advisor Jimmy Westlake will present the special program, “Shadows In Space: The Great American Solar Eclipse of August 2017.”

During the past 47 years, Westlake has traveled the world to study and photograph total eclipses of the sun from Waycross, Georgia; Prince Edward Island, Canada; Mauritania, Africa; Columbia, South America; Manitoba, Canada; and Baja, Mexico. He will share his eclipse experiences, photographs and videos during Friday’s program.

The last total eclipse of the sun visible from the continental U.S. was 38 years ago on Feb. 26, 1979. It’s been a long eclipse drought, but this coming Aug. 21, the drought will be broken. That’s when the moon’s shadow will sweep across the U.S., and all 50 states will see at least part of the sun eclipsed by the moon.

The total part of the moon’s shadow, however, is only 70 miles wide and will darken 12 states across the middle of the country, including Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. Hotels, motels, and campgrounds along the eclipse path are already booking up with astronomy enthusiasts from across the country and world.

In his program, Westlake will show where people to be on Aug. 21 to see the total eclipse of the sun. He’ll also share techniques for safely viewing the eclipse.

Before and after Friday’s indoor program, visitors will have the opportunity to observe the moon and the planet Venus through a telescope, weather permitting.

This will be Westlake’s final public astronomy program before he retires from CMC in May.

Call Westlake at 970-870-4537 for more information.

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