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‘Mr. Eclipse’ to speak Friday night at UMKC about upcoming total eclipse

Total solar eclipse to pass through continental United States

On Aug. 21, the earth will cross over the shadow of the moon, creating a total solar eclipse. For the first time in almost 40 years, the path of the moon's shadow passes through the continental United States.
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On Aug. 21, the earth will cross over the shadow of the moon, creating a total solar eclipse. For the first time in almost 40 years, the path of the moon's shadow passes through the continental United States.

A retired astrophysicist known as “Mr. Eclipse” will speak Friday night at the University of Missouri-Kansas City to help prepare people for the upcoming total eclipse in August.

Fred Espenak, scientist emeritus with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will preview the “great american total eclipse of 2017” with maps, photos and weather prospects.

“A researcher’s take on it is going to be interesting,” said Joseph Wright, operations manager for the Warkoczewski Public Observatory at UMKC.

The presentation will be at 7 p.m. in Room 104 of Royall Hall on the UMKC Campus at 52nd Street Charlotte Road. The event is free, and parking is available in a garage just south of Royall Hall.

The talk is being presented by the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, the Powell Observatory and the Warkoczewski observatory.

Members of the local astronomy community are trying to educate people about the total solar eclipse Aug. 21, which will traverse the entire United States from Oregon to South Carolina.

The goal is to make them aware of what is happening and how to safely observe the eclipse, Wright said.

At the presentation, a limited number of free eclipse modeling kits will be available for teachers and students. Also, the Astronomical Society of Kansas City will sell solar glasses for $1.

Espenak is known as “Mr. Eclipse” because of his work on predicting and observing solar eclipses. He has written more than a dozen books on eclipses, included his latest “Eclipse Bulletin: Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21.”

Some of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

Espenak also runs three websites: www.EclipseWise.com, www.MrEclipse.com and www.AstroPixels.com.

Over the past 45 years, he has witnessed 26 total eclipses of the sun. He currently lives in Portal, Ariz., where he operates Bifrost Astronomical Observatory.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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