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Total solar eclipse kickoff event set for Sunday at observatory on UMKC campus

The total solar eclipse won’t happen until a year from Sunday, but a kickoff event is planned for this weekend on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus that will help people get prepared.
The total solar eclipse won’t happen until a year from Sunday, but a kickoff event is planned for this weekend on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus that will help people get prepared. The Associated Press

The total solar eclipse is still a year away, but the Warkoczewski Public Observatory on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus will hold a kickoff event Sunday.

The observatory is holding the one-year-countdown and solar observing event to help create interest in next year’s rare total solar eclipse that will be viewed by millions of people across the United States.

“We want people to be prepared,” said Joseph Wright, operations manager for the observatory.

The event will begin with a presentation at 11 a.m. in Room 104 of Royall Hall at 52nd and Charlotte streets on the UMKC campus.

It will cover such topics as what is and how does a solar eclipse occur, where people will be able to see the eclipse, how to safely observe an eclipse and basic planning people should be doing now.

The best place to see next year’s total solar eclipse is along the path of totality, a 70-mile-wide path that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina, which includes Missouri towns such as St. Joseph, Liberty, Sedalia, Boonville, Cuba, Sullivan and St. Clair.

After the presentation, the observatory’s staff astronomers will operate special solar telescopes allowing people to view the sun.

The observatory will have an official “First Light” for a new telescope and filter system for an existing telescope it is bringing online. First Light events are the first time the equipment is used for observing.

There will be special solar glasses available for purchase for $2. If cared for, the glasses could be used for next year’s total solar eclipse.

Free parking for Sunday’s event is available on the fourth level of the parking garage south of Royall Hall, which is connected via a walkway bridge.

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

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