2017 Solar Eclipse
On August 21, a total solar eclipse will cross a large portion of the United States for the first time in almost 100 years.
In Miami County, the shadow will begin just after 11:30 a.m. and finally pass through just after 2:30 p.m. The height of the eclipse will likely take place just after 1:00 p.m.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, blocking the light of the Sun and casting a shadow on the Earth. Despite the differences in their sizes, the Moon looks almost exactly the same size as the Sun in the sky during an eclipse.
This optical illusion of size creates what is considered the path of totality. Within this narrow path, spectators are actually expected to see stars for a short time during totality. This narrow band is expected to be north of Miami County much closer to the St. Joseph, MO, area.
But, that doesn't mean that the eclipse won't be visible in Miami County. A significant eclipse will be visible -- but it technically won't be a full one. There are several resources that allow you to simulate what your view will be a specific location.
In addition, Powell Observatory is a great place to learn more. Located in Louisburg, this facility offers Saturday evening public viewing from their telescope. You can also purchase solar eclipse glasses from them that will allow you to safely watch this historic event.
The one thing that could throw a wrench in the works is Mother Nature! A cloudy or stormy day could dramatically increase visibility.
The web sites included in the resources list offer a lot of maps and information for persons planning to enjoy this event. The Kansas City area is expecting a significant influx of visitors. Not only is the region within the range of viewing totality, it is also an easy jumping off point if plans need to change based on weather. Many "eclipse tourists" will likely arrive a few days in advance of the actual event.
Some groups have already booked hotel rooms and campsites within Miami County. Special events are being planned throughout the region.
- Powell Observatory, Louisburg: While this volunteer-led organization will be busy Monday closer to the line of totality, they welcome visitors to stop by Saturday night, Aug. 20, to gaze at the stars.
- Country Vintage Inn, Osawatomie: Visitors staying Aug. 20-22 will enjoy 10% off any room booked. Regular rates are $55 for a single and $66 for a double. With the 10% off it would make it $49.50 for a single and $59.40 for a double. To book your room, call (913) 256-2224.
- Rutlader RV Park, Louisburg: Located south of Louisburg, Rutlader RV Park is planning two evenings of special presentations and night sky viewing on Aug. 1 and Aug. 2. Reservations are required.
If you plan on staying local to enjoy the actual eclipse, there are some things to do in advance:
- Obtain eclipse viewing glasses.
- Plan your day to avoid being off the road. Despite early warnings, it is possible that the darkness created by the eclipse will take some drivers by surprise.
- Stock supplies similar to what you would for a storm. Make sure you have fuel in your vehicles and any needed medicines.
If you operate a business, some things you may want to consider:
- Traffic in Miami County will likely not experience significant impacts. But if you are expecting deliveries from the metro area or will need to make deliveries into the metro area that day, you may want to make alternative plans.
- Employees who commute to the county from the metro area may also experience transportation issues. There may also be a number of employees who wish to view the eclipse creating work scheduling issues.
- The dusk and darkness may create safety issues for crews working outdoors or traveling.
If you miss the 2017 Solar Eclipse, you will have another opportunity on April 8, 2024. But to see that eclipse, you will need to travel south!