Unprecedented is a word that’s been used, perhaps overused, during the last national and Missouri state political races. It’s also the word being used for the upcoming celestial event that will cut a shadow right through Mid-Missouri.
Eclipse 2017 is about three months away and everyone in its path is trying to plan for something never seen in modern times.
Katherine Reed of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau says, “It’s a first-time event for all of us. We have no idea what to expect. We know it’s going to get dark and we know there’s going to be a lot of people here.”
“A lot” is defined as a large number. But just how big is the number of people who will come to our area of the state/country/world to see Eclipse 2017?
Reed says Jefferson City is expected to see around 50,000 people. Although that’s around the same turnout for Salute to America, this event’s a bit more complicated. “We have work and school in session during that day, so we have to accommodate for a lot more than we do for Salute to America when most everybody is off work and things are easier to come by,” says Reed.
In Columbia, advance crews have been meeting regularly and planning for at least double Jefferson City’s expected 50,000 people. Some expect an audience of 100,000 people or more.
Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Megan McConachie says she has the team in place to pull off one of the biggest events ever in Columbia. She says, “As long as they’re not nervous, I’m not nervous.”
McConachie says having the University of Missouri and Columbia Public Schools in session may work in favor of crowd control.
She also says she’s hopeful people will plan ahead and make sure to get where they’d like to in time to observe the eclipse.
Planning ahead for Eclipse 2017 is great idea when it comes to staying safe. That also applies to protecting your eyes.
Wherever you watch the eclipse in Mid-Missouri, it’s important to remember that the only time it’s safe to look directly at the sun during a total eclipse is during totality. That is when the moon completely blocks the sun. It is never safe to look into the partial phases of an eclipse without eye protection. Even when the sun is obscured by the moon by 99 percent, the remaining ultraviolet rays can damage the eyes and cause eclipse blindness. That can cause temporary blindness or even permanent eye damage.
Eclipse 2017 is August 21, and will move across Columbia at 1:12:21 p.m. (CDT) and Jefferson City at 1:13:06 p.m.
Learn more about Eclipse 2017 with University of Missouri astrophysics professor Dr. Angela Speck by clicking here. You can buy eclipse glasses for $2 each at Jefferson City CVB or for $1.49 at the Mizzou Store.